Oldham Council Cabinet Member for Finance Councillor Abdul Jabbar
Oldham Council Cabinet Member for Finance Councillor Abdul Jabbar

Last week Labour leader Keir Starmer urged Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to stop their planned council tax hike and to help protect family incomes.

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.”

The Labour leader accuses the Government of breaking its promise to do ‘whatever is necessary’ to support councils by forcing them to hike taxes for households across Britain. 

Now Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Abdul Jabbar has spoken out in support of the Labour leader’s call. He said, “Year on year Council Tax payers have faced a ‘pay more get less’ situation due to a combination of Government cuts to local Councils added with an expectation that local authorities would recoup some of the cut funds by putting up Council Tax.

“This year the situation is particularly acute because the Government have not honoured their promise to provide Oldham Council with the money we’ve had to spend and income we’ve lost due to coronavirus. Instead they’ve told us we should put up Council Tax by up to 5%, hitting the pockets of hard-working families in Oldham, many of whom have suffered loss of earnings or business failures due to the pandemic.

“I support Sir Keir Starmer’s call for the Government to provide Councils with the equivalent money that a 5% Council tax increase would raise so that we don’t have to implement any increase this year.”

Under the Government’s proposals, households living in Band D will face an average rise of £91 next year under plans. It means council tax will have risen by 33% under the Conservatives. 

Band D properties in 36 council areas, including Dorset, Nottingham, Lewes and Hastings and the Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick’s own local authority of Newark and Sherwood face rises of over £100 per year. Households in higher bands are likely to see an even bigger increase.  

Labour analysis reveals that the 30 areas with the highest council tax rises overlap with eleven key Parliamentary seats held by Labour until 2019 and two seats held until the 2017 General Election.

In a direct message to the Prime Minister, Starmer wrote: “give councils the support you promised, drop your tax increase and provide families with the security they need.”

In his article, Starmer also spoke of his personal mission to make Labour ‘the party of family.’

“Under my leadership, Labour will be the party of family. That means putting family first in everything we say and do. This will be the foundation of what I will do in government, so we can give families across Britain the security and opportunity they need to prosper.”

Oldham Council is due to set its budget for the next financial year in March. It is yet to make an announcement on any proposed Council Tax increase.

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