LETTER: Labour’s Council Tax rise will hit economy

I FEEL that I have to respond to the letter by council leader Coun. Julie Cooper with regards to the achievements of the Labour Party in this town.

Having been in power for only 10 months and recently presented and had approved the first Labour budget for Burnley for many a year, she omitted to state in her list of achievements that they, the Burnley Council controlling the Labour group, achieved an increase of nearly 2% on the council tax. Oh yes a great achievement. Upped the taxes again, as they always did in the past.

2% may be to them only a small increase, but this increase will have an impact on nearly every council tax-payer in Burnley whether they are on benefits or not.

It will have a severe impact on those with savings on which they depend, that give an interest of a measly 1% or even one half of 1%. Their living costs have already been dented by electricity and gas bills, transport costs, the rising cost of food.

Pennies add up to pounds and to think this increase is small, it will become too big for those whose every penny counts and a rise of 2% could very well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. How can you possibly think that increasing council tax is going to help businesses in Burnley? The people of Burnley will have less to spend.

Multiply that by the number of council tax-payers and that will mean hundreds of thousands of pounds less to spend in town. Go tell the businesses in this town you are protecting them. Coun. Cooper, you mention protecting people from government cuts. With increasing council tax you are responsible for cutting people’s spending power. What you are saying surely is a hypocritical statement.

I do not object in any way to people earning a good minimum wage, but again in the public sector as against the private sector, the differential is nearly 20% in favour of the public sector. Yes, as you state, you have achieved a minimum wage for a council employee, which is now £7.45 per hour.

May I remind you the national minimum wage is £6.19 per hour and should, say, larger companies with vastly superior turnovers (compared with Burnley Council’s miniscule turnover) of over £500-750m. per annum asked to implement a minimum wage of £7.45 per hour, then you would see a shedding of jobs like you have never seen before. Why, because they have to compete and have to ensure survival in a vicious and competitive world not protected by an ensnared and captive council tax bill-payer with nowhere else to go.

Yes the council tax-payer pays into Burnley Council Tax coffers the costs of employing at a minimum wage level set by your party of nearly 20% above the national average.

I am sorry Julie Cooper but you and your party have got it wrong again, right from the start. You are penalising each and everyone with your punitive tax increase. Do not say it isn’t punitive because it really is to so very very many.

The Conservatives at County Hall have reduced council tax by 2%, which have been acclaimed as the right direction. “Downwards”. Pendle Council did not make any increase and subsequently the council tax-payer in Pendle had their council tax reduced considerably.

There were alternative budgets put forward by the other two parties, Conservatives and Liberals, that would have maintained the council tax at the status quo with no increase in council tax.

Sorry Coun. Julie Cooper your group’s achievements cut no ice with the council tax-payer.

COUN. DAVID HEGINBOTHAM