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Being Labour, Breaking News, Cotterill on the Council

Correction: missing information, missing Terry Rice

11.10.10 | Comment?

Now that’s sod’s law for you. 

Only recently I was on by high horse saying I hardly ever made corrections to this blog, and here I am having to make a correction.

In my most recent post I said the following:

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.

Note how I carefully used the phrase “I understand” about the figures I gave.

This was because, before I sent the press release on which this post was based, I was unable to check the documentary evidence of this, and based it on what I had been told my longer standing Labour members.   I was careful to point this out to the journalists I sent the press release, and that I was checking the documentary evidence from 2001 with Council officers.

I asked officer for that information on Friday morning.  I got it this morning (Wednesday) after the press deadlines for this week had passed. I am now told  that in 2001 Labour increased Council tax by 14.74%, and the defeated Tories’ proposals were 7.87%.

Oh well, so much for the accurate memories of my Labour colleagues.  They did get the 14.75% bit right, but for the wrong party! 

Of course, the late, great Terry would have had the correct information at the ready, and it is a reminder of how much he is missed.

Obviously, I’m sorry that I put wrong information in my post and the press releases, notwithstanding my caveat to journalists, my wording of the press release, and my attempts to get the information from officers (you do wonder if a senior Tory councillor had asked for the information whether it would have taken three working days to get hold of it).  I’ll be adding a note to the original post and write to the papers if they print anything of this stuff.

Of course, the main point I made remains valid. 

Recalculated with the new information, we see that the Tory plans would have saved a D band household 12.66 per year at today’s prices.  Compare this with the 450 additional tax that their government is burdening lower income households with, and the hypocrisy is still perfectly clear.

In addition of course, their false statement about last year’s proposals remain, and they don’t have the excuse of not having the data to hand.  Our 2010 proposals are easily obtainable on the web, and were presented in council two months before they sent out their leaflets with erroneous information, so they must have known what they were doing. 

The information I sought to obtain, on the other hand, is not available on the web (one can question why) and I made genuine and auditable efforts to obtain it.  Nor, for the reasons I set out above, would the accurate information I now present have altered the efficacy of my accusation about Tory tax hypocrisy.

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