Labour was elected in Lambeth two years ago promising that we would be “on your side”, with council tax increases kept below the level of wage inflation. During the previous four years, a Lib Dem and Conservative coalition forced council tax up 40% - the biggest increase in Lambeth’s history - that cost the average household an extra £1000 in council tax payments.
Labour’s two-year tax freeze is intended to help residents who are struggling to cope with the effects of the global recession. With rising fuel prices and many facing job losses, Labour wants to help families and individuals keep more of their money. The freeze will be delivered without cuts in frontline services. This is possible only because of the careful way Labour has managed the council’s finances over the past two years, restoring them to stability after the Tories and Lib Dems left the council with no money in the bank and millions of pounds in debt.
The one thing the council does that affects just about every household in Lambeth is set the council tax. With Labour, our council tax is already one of the lowest in the country. But Lambeth Labour is determined to stay on the side of ordinary people, so we will be freezing council tax for the next two years with no increase in people’s bills. We know that’s the best way we can help people manage through the economic downturn. And it’s a clear difference from the record-breaking 40% hikes we got from the Lib Dems.
When the next elections come in May 2010, voters will face a clear choice. The Lib Dems who put council tax up 40% but wasted all the money, or Labour with low increases for two years followed by a two-year freeze to help people through the recession. That’s the difference between a Lib Dem council that’s not on your side or a Labour council that is.