The Bickerstaffe Record

Being Labour, Cotterill on the Council

The Tory Tax hypocrisy multiplier effect is…….16

11.08.10 | 1 Comment

Update Weds 10 Nov: see this important correction and explanation for the figures I use below.

The recent Tory ‘attack’ press release is a thing of wonder.  It is so distant from reality, so economically illiterate, so hypocritical, that you do wonder how even they can bring themselves to press the send button on the email.

But they did.

I’ll cover the whole thing tomorrow, but as a taster here they are  ‘sticking it to Labour on their supposedly evil Council tax plans, which are in fact of a figment of their rabid imaginations:

My question is do they have a secret plan to hike up Council Tax by 15% like they did the last time they were in control? How many jobs are they going to lose – how many services are they going to cut? Last year, local Conservatives froze Council Tax and we are working hard to ensure value for money services over the next few years.

 Yeah, that’s shown us, eh?

Let’s move on quickly past the fact that in their May election leaflets they said Labour had proposed a 2% council tax rise for the current year; in fact we proposed a freeze, a fact incontrovertibly documented in the Council papers of February 2010.

That’s just the usual Tory rubbish, and further proof that West Lancs Tories and the concept of reality do not really mix.

Let’s even move on past the fact that Tory memories appear increasingly selective, and that in the budget year when Labour did introduce a 15% Council Tax rise, I understand that the Conservatives’ counter-proposal sought to ‘undercut’ Labour by a not-so massive 0.25%. 

Yup, they proposed a 14.75% rise. That’s a not-so-massive household saving of 46p per year (Band D properties) at today’s prices, against our plans (I wasn’t around then). Larger council tax rises were of course a feature of that time right across the country, as Councils sought to invest in services after the previous period of Conservative incompetence, and the local Conservatives were perfectly happy to follow Labour’s lead at the time.

But distance from reality is one thing.  Blatant hypocrisy is another. 

What is really astonishing is that the Tories make these wholly spurious claims about Labour tax plans just a few weeks after voting in Full Council in support of a rise in VAT from 17.5% to 20%. 

Surely the Tories cannot be so economically illiterate as to misunderstand what they are doing here, but to assist them some simple numbers might help. 

This – I stress, entirely fictitious – 15% Council tax rise would, on a band D property, currently paying £183.55 to West Lancashire Borough Council, cost such a household an extra £27.53 per year.  (Of course some lower income households do not pay full Council tax). 

Yet we know that the VAT rise will cost lower income families, who spend a greater percentage of their income on VAT payable items, an additional £450 per year.

In short, the Tories have just voted in favour of tax rises which will cost families around 16 times as much as the Council Tax rise that they are pretending Labour is planning.

It’d be a laugh if these people weren’t in charge of the Council and weren’t, as we speak, busy dismantling services and the quality of lives of many of its citizens, with their innovative mixture of incompetent arrogance and ideological febrility.

Unfortunately, they are in charge.  So it’s not a laugh.

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