Northumberland Labour Councillors are backing a nationwide campaign to STOP THE SQUEEZE – to demand an end to unfair council tax rises in next week’s Budget.
The move comes after a punishing few weeks which has already left families hundreds of pounds worse off thanks to an Autumn triple whammy – the hike in National Insurance, higher energy prices and a £1,000 cut to Universal credit.
Under the Conservatives average Council Tax bills have already risen 13% (£227) in just three years. In last year’s Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak dropped a £2bn council tax bombshell on families, forcing the average household bill up by another £80. Published Conservative spending plans show the Chancellor is planning another massive council tax again this year.
Launching the campaign, which will see Labour Councillors from across the country deliver a petition to Downing Street next week, Leader Scott Dickinson said:
“Enough is enough. Here in Northumberland household budgets are being squeezed to bursting by sky-high energy bills, the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit, and the new Tory tax hike on National Insurance. People can’t take any more.
“Thanks to the Conservatives, council tax bills have increased more than £220 since 2019, the year that Boris Johnson became Prime Minister. Yet incredibly the Tories want to hammer working families again – at the worst possible time.
“The Prime Minister and Chancellor must Stop The Squeeze on families in Northumberland by funding local services properly and ruling out further unfair council tax rises in this year’s Budget.
Household budgets have already been hit by a triple whammy
- Energy bills jumped 12% in October, with Ofgem announcing a £139 rise in default tariffs and £153 increase for customers with prepayment meters. Ofgem have warned that energy bills will almost certainly rise again in April 2022
- Five million families on Universal Credit have just had their support cut by up to £1,040 a year – the largest overnight cut to social security since the Second World War.
- The Conservative National Insurance tax rise next April will cost the average worker over £250 a year in extra tax.
- The Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimate that some families could lose as much as £31 a week thanks to the triple whammy.
Council Tax bills have shot up under Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak
- Under Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak council tax bills have rocketed – in just three years they have forced bills up by £227 (12%) with the average Band D council tax bill now almost £1900. Last year the Conservative chairman of the Local Government Association said that council tax rises were ‘the sting in the tail’ of the 2020 Budget
- Keir Starmer opposed last year’s council tax rises. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph the Labour leader said: “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak’s council tax hike will hit families right at the very time millions are worried about the future of their jobs and how they will make ends meet”
- Tory cuts mean councils have lost more than 60p out of every £1 that the last Labour Government was spending on local government in 2010. Cuts to councils have been strikingly uneven – the poorest local authorities (which tend to be Labour-run) have had their spending cut by £228 per person since 2010, but the richest councils have had their spending cut by only £44 per person
- The Conservatives have slashed funding for council tax support schemes designed to help the poorest, with £1.7 billion (nearly half of the original funding) removed between 2013 and 2020. More than 573,000 low income households no longer receive any council tax support
- The Local Government Association has warned that councils in England currently face costs of around £8bn by 2025 simply to keep vital services functioning at their current levels
Published Conservative spending documents show the Tories plan to raise council tax again this year – after dropping a £2bn bombshell last year
· In last year’s Budget Chancellor Rishi Sunak dropped a £2bn council tax bombshell on families, forcing the average household bill up by another £80
- In the Government’s Health and Social Care Plan, hidden in the small print, are plans to hit residents with another round of Council Tax rises this year.
“The Government will ensure Local Authorities have access to sustainable funding for core budgets at the Spending Review. We expect demographic and unit cost pressures will be met through Council Tax, social care precept, and long-term efficiencies; the overall level of Local Government funding, including Council Tax and social care precept, will be determined in the round at the Spending Review”
Labour Councillors are calling on the Prime Minister and Chancellor to STOP THE SQUEEZE on household budgets
· Labour councillors and councils are working to protect household budgets: families living in Labour council areas pay around £343 less council tax than families living under Conservative councils, despite being hit by deeper government cuts.
- This week Labour Councillors launched the STOP THE SQUEEZE campaign. Labour Councillors are calling on the government to help local families by keeping council tax bills down, and have launched a petition calling on the Prime Minister and Chancellor to ‘Stop The Squeeze’ on family finances. Labour council leaders will deliver it directly to Downing Street ahead of the Budget statement:
‘Family budgets are being squeezed to bursting by sky-high energy bills, the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit, and the new Tory tax hike on National Insurance.
Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson council tax bills have rocketed ahead of inflation, increasing £227 (12%) in just three years.
We call on the Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak to Stop The Squeeze on families by ruling out further unfair council tax rises in this year’s Budget.’