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Headline grabbing stunt comes home to roost - More cuts from Conservative Barnet Council

March 3, 2016 9:27 PM
By Cllr Jack Cohen in Barnet Times

Cllr Jack Cohen being interviewed by the BBCBarnet Council looks set to increase council tax by just under two per cent. In reality, central government controls the purse strings.

For 2016/17, councils are limited to a two per cent hike in council tax - so any higher amount triggers a referendum.

However, the government this time will permit an additional two per cent rise ringfenced for adult social care services. The Conservatives' proposed tax increase uses the ringfenced allowances, so council tax for all other servicer is frozen.

It is disappointing it is not even using the whole two per cent (in fact, it is 1.7 per cent), which will mean a shortfall in adult social care.

The Conservatives are proposing more cuts to services that will hit residents. Street cleaning will be reduced, street lighting cut and we all know their plans to close our libraries.

The Conservatives tell us often enough that their outsourcing of council services is a success. I don't know about that. I see mouth-watering payments to firms like Capita. There is little evidence I can see that the council is saving money. There is loads of evidence that council services are getting worse.

Two years ago the Conservatives cut council tax in the run-up to the local elections. This headline-grabbing stunt is now coming home to roost. That loss of cumulative income is having a severe impact on vital local services. Better they should tackle the £2 million or so spent on chief officers' pay, consultancy and agency fees - and, of course, the huge amounts paid to so many councillors by way of special responsibility allowances.