Labour leader calls for ‘fair deal’ for Rotherham as councils are ‘pushed to the brink’
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Mr Hunt is set to make the annual statement tomorrow (November 21), which will announce his tax and spending plans for the upcoming year.
The I reports that Mr Hunt is expected to announce that council tax will be increased and inheritance tax halved, and the Telegraph reports the average family home could face a council tax increase of £120 per year.
Councillor Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, said last year that the authority had ‘no option’ but to raise council tax by four per cent, as government funding fell ‘well short of what’s required’.
This year, Coun Read has written to Mr Hunt ahead of his statement to demand a fair deal for Rotherham, which he says has been unfairly targeted by the Conservative government.
Coun Read said: “Rotherham deserves a fair deal. Government funding cuts have been unfairly targeted at areas like ours.
“The Conservative’s cuts have meant £200 million of cuts to council services and nearly 2,000 job losses since 2010, a cut in government funding which is equivalent to 59 per cent of the funding we received from the last Labour government.
“Unfunded pressures are pushing council finances to the brink. An unprecedented number of councils across the country are unable to balance their books.
“Local family finances are still recovering from the Conservative government’s disastrous decisions that crashed our economy. The government should take responsibility for funding local services, rather than once again forcing councils to increase council tax bills.
“The Chancellor must use the Autumn Statement to deliver the fair deal for Rotherham that we deserve. If he cannot do that, the Conservatives should call a General Election and give the country the chance to vote in a new government that has a plan to give our borough its future back.”
Lee Rowley, now a former Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities minister, said last month that the government was “providing councils greater certainty on key aspects of their funding for the next two years”.