Liberal Democrat Councillors in Gateshead are to vote against Gateshead Council’s plans to increase council tax by 4.99% on Thursday.
The decision to oppose the budget at the council meeting on Thursday 25th February was taken by the Council’s Official Opposition after discovering that Gateshead has nearly £41 million sitting in the bank, a rise on last year’s balance.
Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Jonathan Wallace, said, “Gateshead Council currently has the highest council tax of any metropolitan council in England. At £1824, this is already a huge burden on residents. Labour’s rise will increase council tax by £90 a year.
“Liberal Democrats believe the Council, instead of taxing people until the pips squeak, should not increase council tax. Gateshead Council are sitting on a cash mountain of nearly £41 million. Despite covid, the reserves have increased from last year.
“In a time when people are about to emerge from a year of lockdowns and restrictions, with businesses badly bruised and jobs in jeopardy, now is not the time to pile more and more financial burdens of the people of Gateshead.
“The Council has nearly £41 million in reserves. Liberal Democrats want some of that to be used to freeze council tax. The people of Gateshead have battled their way through the covid crisis over the past year. Now is not the time to clobber them with an inflation-busting council tax rise.”