Stockport’s Lib Dem budget secures lowest council tax increase in Greater Manchester

Following the budget council meeting last night, Stockport’s Liberal Democrat administration have secured for their residents the lowest council tax increase in Greater Manchester, and one of the lowest in the country, despite the huge increase in both costs and demand for services the council faces. The budget proposals received unanimous support – apart from the few remaining Conservative councillors voting against – and was not challenged by any amendments; a first in recent years.

Speaking after the meetings, Cllr Malcolm Allan, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said: “The council, like everyone else has faced huge increases in costs during the disastrous worsening of our economy. Meanwhile, Stockport council has steered its way safely through these times with the cooperation of our political and business partners and in particular our third sector partners in the Borough. We think the budget represents a careful balance of competing priorities when we have yet again received a reduction in our grant from the government.

“As one of only 30 or so councils across the UK who have avoided the full increase in council tax, we recognise that all residents have faced hard times and need any help we can give them, even via an unfair Council Tax system. Meanwhile, our budget still gives priority to those most in need and facing the biggest problems. This includes special help to extend free school meals provision to those not covered by the government rules. In addition, recognising the diversity of our Borough and that, in each area, residents have different needs and priorities, we are allocating to every ward more resources to spend locally on what residents need most in their community.”

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of the Council and of the Lib Dems at Stockport Town Hall, added: “The cost of living crisis is hitting our residents extremely hard, and it doesn’t look set to end any time soon, so we have done everything we can to deliver the smallest council tax increase possible consistent with protecting vital services.

“The recent, independent assessment by the Local Government Association (LGA) highlighted our strong collaborative culture and cross-party working has been key in making sure there was broad agreement for the measures we presented in our budget. The LGA also said we deliver high performing services with strong financial management, and this is a budget to continue that into the year ahead.

“For the future, we continue to be in the hands of central government with only year by year financial settlements, which do not allow us to plan effectively and manage the peaks and troughs of demand we face over time. We need government to deliver on the long-promised financial solution to adult social care from general taxation, rather than continuing to push an ever increasing burden onto council tax payers. Liberal Democrats still believe that council tax is an unfair and regressive form of taxation that needs complete overhaul.

“Make no mistake, the council tax increase we had to make this year is entirely down to the Conservative government’s failure to adequately fund local government, with Stockport receiving £1.4m less funding than last year, despite the huge increase in energy costs and inflation.”

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply