‘It’s a matter of basic justice’ : fair deal demands for Harrow over council tax increase

Harrow’s Labour councillors are calling on PM Theresa May to offer them equal treatment as fears over increased council tax grows.

All councils are entitled to raise tax by up to 4.99% this year without having a local referendum, Surrey County Council had a proposed a tax rise of 15 per cent, requiring a local referendum.

However, on Tuesday February 7, the council chose to reverse their position.

It has been revealed that leaked messages suggest the reversal is linked to a “sweetheart” deal between Department for Communities and Local Government and Surrey Council.

deal

Harrow’s councillors are now demanding they are offered the same deal.

Harrow west Councillor and cabinet member for Finance, Adam Swersky, is now fighting for the people of Harrow to receive the same deal.

He said: “The outrageous secret negotiations between Surrey Council and the government must be immediately opened up to public scrutiny.”

“If Surrey is getting more money to deal with huge social care pressures and government cuts, then Harrow residents must get exactly the same deal.

“It’s a matter of basic justice.”

David Hodges, Chair of the Conservative Group on the Local Government Association and leader of Surrey Council, said the decision to not proceed with the 15 per cent council tax increase was theirs and no one else’s.

Mr Hodges said: “We have to take an axe to services unless people vote for this.

“It’s very painful, as Surrey people already pay a fair whack, but we will lay out the choices honestly.”

However, Leader of the Conservative Group Cllr Susan Hall said the Labour group need to re-think their finances.

Cllr Hall said: “Labour are merely trying to distract attention from their own local failures.

“Whilst other councils, such as Conservative-run Hillingdon, have managed to freeze their Council tax rates Labour’s mismanagement of Harrow’s finances are punishing our residents with yearly tax rises.

“Let’s not forget, the last time Harrow’s Council Tax was frozen was under a Conservative administration.”

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