Opposition Day Debate on Council Tax

On Monday 25 January 2021 the Opposition tabled the first of two Opposition Day motions on the Government’s proposed increase in Council tax. 

The Chancellor’s November Spending Review included a provision for Council’s to raise Council tax by up to 5%. This tax rise will mean a bill increase of around £90 for families in my constituency. This is the maximum possible amount local authorities are able to raise Council tax by without holding a referendum.

At the outset of the pandemic the government promised to do whatever was necessary to support Councils in their fight against Covid-19. They have broken this promise leaving Councils facing a funding gap this financial year estimated by the cross-party Local Government Association to be £2.6 billion. This Council tax increase is central government passing the burden of this funding gap over to local councils, and ultimately to families across the country. 

Increasing Council tax now, along with a £1,000 a year cut to Universal Credit and a pay freeze for key workers, will leave families across the country with less money in their pockets. Not only is that a poor reward for those who have sacrificed so much during this crisis, it does not make economic sense – our shops and small businesses need people to go out and buy their goods and services, not tighten their belts. These tax rises risk choking off the economic recovery before it has even begun.

The Opposition Day debate motion was: 

That this House calls on the Prime Minister to drop the Government’s plans to force local councils to increase council tax in the middle of a pandemic by providing councils with funding to meet the Government’s promise to do whatever is necessary to support councils in the fight against Covid-19.

The Government abstained on this motion and it passed by Ayes: 209 – Noes: 0.