25 January 2012
Brighton and Hove Greens lead the way in refusing to be bullied into freezing council tax
Eric Pickle's council tax freeze is ill thought out and morally contemptible say Brighton and Hove Greens as 16 more councils refuse to sign upto Tory "tax gimmick"
Eric Pickles is obviously starting to sweat as it' clear that his "Tory Tax Gimmick" has not been welcomed with the open arms he was expecting. Bored of asking nicely (!) he is now telling councils that they have a "moral duty" to adopt the council tax freeze. A moral duty? An interesting stance from Communities secretary Eric Pickles who has been accused of attempting to legalise planning decisions made on the basis of financial reward by The Campaign to Protect Rural England.
And let us not forget this is the Pickles that spent nearly £600,000 on his interim finance chief's 16 month stint.
And the very same Eric Pickles who attended a "private" dinner at The Savoy hosted by the lobbying firm Bell Pottinger. It was also attended by Brandon O'Reilly, chief executive of Farnborough airport, who at the time was awaiting a decision by Pickles's Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Department for Transport (DfT) on an application to almost double the capacity of the airport. How very neutral.
Brighton and Hove Green Council ask: How is it a moral duty for councils to plunge their residents into debt and endanger frontline services just so the Tories can look good in the short term?
"Residents expect us to use our Green values to fight for the fairest possible settlement in the face of unprecedented cuts from central government. The tax freeze grant is another attack, a wolf in sheep's clothing, which we oppose. Over 2 years it would cost us £5.4m, and more over the longer term."
Councillor Jason Kitcat
If Eric Pickles is going to offer a council tax freeze he must do so with the proper funding otherwise it is just empty rhetoric.