Cllr Sir Albert Bore believes Bham Council tax is "artificially low"
At a recent council meeting Cllr Sir Albert Bore stunned everyone by revealing the true cost of a Labour vote. If Labour ran Birmingham, hard-pressed families would currently find themselves an incredible £256 worse off.
Every year at the end of February, the ruling administration of Birmingham City Council presents its proposed budget, and Council Tax rate, for the financial year starting in April. If the majority of Councillors support it then it is passed. The opposition have an opportunity to propose an alternative budget, which the Councillors also vote on.
For the coming financial year, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in charge of Birmingham proposed a zero percent increase. The Labour Party proposed an alternative budget, which accepted the zero percent increase but tinkered around with £6million of the £3billion budget.
But in his speech*, the leader of the Birmingham Labour Party, Cllr Sir Albert Bore, said the following:
“Now Paul Tilsley does say that he is very proud of the fact that the Council tax rise in this city has been the lowest of all metropolitan authorities, the lowest of the core cities, the lowest of the English regions across the years that this coalition has been in control of this city council."
“While he is right to acknowledge that it's been the lowest. But I just pose a question back to him. The fact is, and look at the graph in the budget book, the position in terms of Council tax here in this city council in terms of the rise of Council tax as against, shall we say, the metropolitan average, this city last year took in £70million less in council tax than would have occurred, would have been taken in on the average Metropolitan authority. Now that figure is a product of us keeping, I would say, at times an artificially low Council tax rise.“
You can clearly see that he is not happy with the level of Council tax, complaining that it is “artificially low”. He also makes it clear that if the Council tax was raised to an appropriate level, it would raise £70million.
A 1% rise in Council Tax raises £3million. Therefore to raise £70million in Council tax, you need to increase the Council tax level by 23%. The Council Tax (not including the Police and Fire) for a Band D property this year in Birmingham is £1,113.67
So a 23% increase in Council Tax would mean a massive £256 burden on local families.
Cllr Sir Albert Bore was clearly using ‘dog whistle’ politics in his speech to reassure the left wing of the Birmingham Labour Party who will be demanding huge Council tax increases if Labour take control of Birmingham in May.
The current partnership running Birmingham Council has ensured that, in these difficult times, Council Tax rises have only happened when absolutely necessary. Thanks to this, Birmingham residents pay the lowest Council Tax in the West Midlands. It would be good for the Birmingham Labour Party to come clean on whether they would keep it as it presently is or whether we face a return to the inflation-busting increases that we all remember from their last term of office. Otherwise, at the coming May elections, Birmingham residents will quite rightly ask themselves, at a time of rising fuel bills, pay freezes and worries over job security, if they can really afford a Labour run administration and the threat of massive Council Tax increases.
*You can see this speech at http://www.justin.tv/bcc_meetings/b/310124106 . The relevant part can be seen at 1hour 9minutes.