Stockport Lib Dems propose council tax rebate in face of unprecedented cost of living crisis

Given the unprecedented increases in household bills in the year ahead, the Liberal Democrats will be proposing that Stockport Council gives residents in Band A to D houses a cost of living rebate equivalent to the ‘general’ increase in council tax proposed by the Labour Cabinet for over 82% of households in the borough.

Speaking ahead of the budget meeting, Cllr Lisa Smart, Lib Dem shadow for budget matters, said: “In the wake of the impacts of Covid and Brexit, our residents are facing huge increases in their household bills for the year ahead. Added to recent government announcements about higher National Insurance rates and lower than expected state pension increases, we felt we had to do all that we could to soften the blow for our residents.

“We know the council has to take the Adult Social Care Precept to replace funding already removed by central government, and we have no control over the precept rises that the Greater Manchester Mayor tells us are needed to properly fund our police and fire services. We do have control over the ‘general’ part of the council tax and, given the size of the council’s reserves, we believe a rebate is affordable. As this is the mechanism the government have already chosen to make an energy rebate, the administrative costs of paying back a little more are negligible.”

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Lib Dems at Stockport Town Hall, added: “Local government faces further uncertainty with another one-year settlement from central government and no clarity about what future support councils will receive as we continue to emerge from Covid. However, given the unprecedented financial challenge our residents face, including inflation at a 30 year high, we believe that this money should go back to them rather than sit in council reserves for the year ahead.

“We have decided to share our proposal with the other Groups well ahead of the Budget Council meeting so that they can properly consider it and I hope they will agree to support some of our least well-off residents in this way.”

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