Stafford Borough Council proposes 2% council tax cuts

Cllr Kenneth Williamson

Cllr Kenneth Williamson

A new housing “windfall” which could mean a 2% drop in Council Tax for Stafford residents, was met with strong opposition at a council meeting.

The Conservative group want to reduce council tax by 2% in 2014/15 amid an expected New Homes Bonus of more than £129,000 from central government.

But opposition councillors branded the idea “gimmicky politics.”

Cllr Kenneth Williamson, member of the Conservative group, said: “It means we can give some of that bonus back to the hard-working and hard-pressed people of this borough.

“If there’s surplus its only right to return it to the people who paid it.”

The New Homes Bonus scheme is a grant paid by central government to local councils for increasing the number of homes and their use

It is based on a house build of 300 per year, but Cllr Williamson believes Stafford Borough Council should be building 500 a year.

The proposal was criticised by political opponents, who branded it “merely ifs and buts.”

Labour Cllr Aidan Godfrey said: “It is not set in concrete that we are going to have good finances in the coming years.

“This council provides services to the people of this borough and without the finances, they cannot provide the services.”

After council tax rates were due to be frozen for the fifth year, this sudden amendment was faced with accusations of “playing gestured and gimmicky politics”.

Also in response to the sudden amendment, Cllr William Kemp, Labour group leader, said to the Conservatives: “I am having to hold my tongue because I am disgusted and annoyed. You have let the members of the council down.”





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