Petition over Sheffield Council tax increase

Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg
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A petition calling for Sheffield town hall chiefs to abandon plans to raise council tax is launched today by Nick Clegg.

The city council’s cabinet has already agreed its budget for next year, including a 1.99 per cent rise in council tax for residents, which is the first such increase for five years.

Next Friday March 6 it will go to the full council for a final decision, but opposition members are to call for the authority to stop the rise and take a Government grant to freeze it instead.

Mr Clegg, who has launched the petition on his website, said: “The Government is offering Sheffield Council nearly £2m in exchange for freezing their council tax, but Labour are choosing to reject that and take that money from the pockets of hardworking Sheffield taxpayers.

“At a time when local people are feeling the pinch, the council should be doing everything possible to help them out, not stinging them for more of their money.

“Liberal Democrats believe we can give people that help by freezing their council tax this year and instead accepting the near £2m the Government is offering.”

A recent report showed the council had £125m in so-called surplus assets - or land.

Uncollected council tax levels are also now at £31m.

In recent weeks the council has responded to calls from Mr Clegg for the tax rise to be dropped.

The council said it will raise £1.3m over what it would get from the so-called ‘freeze grant’ by increasing bills, and that the tax rise will equate to 38p a week for most Sheffield households.

Last month Ben Curran, cabinet member for finance, said: “We have frozen council tax for the past four years, but the problem is that Nick Clegg has now taken away 50 per cent of our main Government grant and we can no longer afford to continue to freeze tax.

“The increase raises extra money vital in protecting frontline services.”