Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Doubling of Council Tax Leads to Political Row

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Doubling of Council Tax Leads to Political Row

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel Reporter

RATEPAYERS in a Northumberland town are facing an increase in their council tax after councillors agreed to more than double their part of the bill.

People in Cramlington are facing a big hike after its town council voted to put up its portion of the overall bill by more than 100%.

This comes on top of Northumberland County Council having already said all taxpayers would face an increase in the authority's part of the bill of 2%.

The Labour-controlled town council last night said the hike is necessary to fund the improvements and projects it has planned, and hit out at previous Liberal Democrat rulers for setting a deliberately low budget.

They claimed their precept was still among the lowest in South East Northumberland but the Lib Dems hit back, insisting people in Cramlington would be "outraged" at the massive rise.

The town council has agreed to increase the precept for band A properties, which make up 54% of all homes in the town, from PS25.19 to PS64.70, band B from PS29.38 to PS75.34, band C from PS33.23 to PS86.10 and band D from PS37.78 to PS96.87.

The leader of the council's Labour group Alan Hepple said: "In recent years the reluctance of the previous Liberal administration of the town council to recognise the issues facing Cramlington has resulted in a low budget that has not allowed the council the necessary resources to deliver the improvements which residents demand.

"Elsewhere town councils have taken a different view and recognised their important role and increased their charge to a level which has allowed real improvements to the fabric of their town. Already Blyth makes a charge of PS94 and I believe this is likely to increase substantially.

"So even with these increases, Cramlington Town Council will still have one of the lowest charges in south east Northumberland. …

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