I know that many of my constituents are disappointed and concerned about the rise in council tax announced recently.
It is unacceptable that Council tax rates in Hartlepool are higher than they are for comparative bands in many other, and often much more affluent, areas of the country.
As part of the Government’s plan to get the country back on its feet post 2010, tough decisions had to be taken on spending and sacrifices had to be made, this included reductions on central government funding of local councils. Other councils have been able to manage their budgets and continue to provide frontline services while making revenue, creating investments and backroom economy savings, and therefore kept council tax low.
Whilst I understand that there are great demands on our Council in Hartlepool, it cannot be denied that the Council Tax is simply too high. But, we are where we are and I have no intention of pointing the finger, I am here to find solutions. I know local people feel they do not have value for money when it comes to local services and local spending, and I am actively looking at ways to address the high levels of Council Tax.
I know some of my colleagues are considering the benefits of ‘Fairer Share’ property tax, and this is something to bear in mind moving forward. It also cannot be denied that the high levels of Council Tax seen locally is partly due to increasing pressures on local services. We can work to relieve some of these pressures by increasing investment, attracting businesses and job creation, therefore enabling people to access well-paid work. This will spread the burden and increase revenue whilst decreasing deprivation and the demand on social services.
I am committed to improving Council tax rates for the people of Hartlepool and I would welcome my constituent’s views on the matter of Council Tax. I am fully aware that the issues surrounding Council Tax rates cannot be solved overnight, and that the current Council cannot simply reduce rates. However, it would be great to hear from local people if they have any constructive views on the matter, or how we can all move forward to address rising Council Tax. Please do contact me via email if you wish to feedback to my office- email@example.com