By Cllr. Rex Osborn, Leader of Wandsworth Labour Group
The council tax is a regressive tax which penalises the private rent-payer, the council rent-payer, the elderly and the less well off. This time of recession is not the time to increase it and Labour has a way of saving an extra £5m to which the Conservatives are opposed.
With many households across Wandsworth still feeling the squeeze, the Labour Group believes the Council should be doing everything it can to help residents this year – not putting up Council tax at a time when residents can least afford it.
Furthermore, we’re alarmed at its decision to gamble with £500,000 of taxpayers’ money, by betting that some clever accounting will ensure it qualifies for the Government’s council tax freeze grant. If it doesn’t pay off, residents will be left with higher council tax as well as another £500,000 hole in the Council’s budget.
The Labour Group supports the exploration of a rationalisation of Council departments – but we’re concerned that these proposals are not thought through and that the Tory Leader, Cllr. Govindia, has committed the Council to an unrealistic time-frame.
By announcing these half-baked plans without understanding all the repercussions, the Leader has left hundreds of Council employees fearing for their jobs, and concerned about the uncertainty which now lies ahead.
We would urge the Tories to slow the process down, and understand all the options before committing to any radical overhaul of the Council.”