Tameside’s council tax rise approved

TAMESIDE’S 4.99 per cent rise in council tax has been approved.

As The Correspondent detailed previously, the fee for a Band A property in the borough is to rise by the equivalent of £1.11 a week for and £1.66 a week for one in Band D.

In Mossley, where a Town Council sits, the charges will be higher because of a precept that is passed on to that body.

This rise, made up of 2.99 per cent in tax and a two per cent adult social care precept, has been made as it becomes increasingly difficult to balance the books.

Tameside Council’s meeting of Full Council

And Tameside Council’s first deputy, Cllr Jacqueline North, believed it was necessary because of Government cuts.

Latest figures show the authority is facing a £35.3 million budget pressure for the 2024/2025 financial year and its real terms spending power has reduced by 22.4 per cent, about £700 per household – higher than the England average of 18.9 per cent, or £581 per household.

“I get an overwhelming sense of déjà vu,” said Cllr North at the meeting of the full council on Tuesday, March 5. “I spoke last year about the detrimental impact this Government’s policies are having on the lives of Tameside residents.

“Seven chancellors and 11 different economic strategies in the last 14 years have not produced the promised growth. Instead, a year on households are facing the biggest drop in living standards since the 1950s.

“It’s clear the present system of local government funding is broken. Essentially the Government expected us to raise council tax by the maximum permitted.

“In Tameside, the impact of this settlement is an increase in core spending power of £15 million but instead of dealing with the problem in social care, Government is trying to push all the burden on to residents through council tax.

“In Tameside, we’ve seen a 35 per cent year-on-year increase of households in temporary accommodation, with a 25 per cent increase in the number of households with children.

“The impact of inflation and additional service demands have added further budget pressures of £35.3 million for 2024/25, of which 53 per cent is in social care. To balance these demands against income, we’ve had to identify new reductions totalling £11.83 million.

Cllr Liam Billington, Stalybridge South ward

“We did not want to pass this burden on to our residents, but there is a clear direction from Government to do so.

“Research from the Local Government Association estimates that the sector requires £4 billion of new funding to cover delivery of services, which would equate to more than £19 million for Tameside alone.

“The council delivers over 800 public services and is under a legal obligation to provide the majority of these. The increase in council tax will go towards protecting and preserving vital services – especially those that support our most vulnerable residents.

“I believe this budget will form the blueprint to endure the crisis we face.

“It’s my hope we’ll have laid the foundations through this budget and other related measures to build back a better, stronger Tameside we’ll all be proud to call home.”

The budget was opposed by Conservative councillors, who believe more ‘efficiencies’ can be found in departments, highlighting subsidies to Active Tameside.

Cllr Liam Billington also claimed they would introduce schemes that encourage businesses open longer, with free car parking after 5pm and all-day Sunday.

£15 million of their savings would go into covering an ‘under-performing’ secondary school into a grammar school.

He criticised the implementation of Levelling Up funding and compared the planned canopy for Ashton’s outdoor market to an ‘Imperial Star Destroyer.’

He also brought up the subject of immigration.

He said: “What are we seeing from year-on-year increases? Absolutely nothing.

“The council could’ve pulled the contract from Active Tameside, taken services in-house and made efficiencies to allow our leisure portfolio to be more competitive.

“But what has the council done? It’s taken the lazy option of closing facilities and letting business carry on as usual.

“I want to see Tameside a more resilient borough, starting with the early years. A grammar school would signal it welcomes and champions success.

“But I do have grave concerns over the high levels of immigration this council welcomes through various charities it funds.

“Research places Tameside as the third busiest rental market in the UK, with rents going up 60 per cent since 2019. Landlords are snapping up affordable terraced homes, which would traditionally be taken up by first time buyers, that’s not fair.

“Why is this happening? I was told by one resident that their landlord had been offered triple the market rent in exchange for housing asylum seekers by Serco. In addition, it would redecorate the property once they left.

“The landlord wanted £800 a month from the tenant, up from the £425 they were paying, otherwise they’d face eviction.

“Asylum seekers coming to the borough also come with issues. If they have children, that’s an instant referral to children’s services. Look around the streets where there are high levels of immigration, they require more street cleaning.

“Then there’s the requirement of interpreters etc. It costs the council money. How is this fair and why should landlords profit?

“We’re able to charge a 200 per cent banding in second home ownership. Let’s go one step further. I propose the council places a 300 per cent banding in Serco homes and HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation).

“This would raise an additional £3.1 million for Tameside services. It sends a signal to landlords that we won’t pick up the bill for your greed.”

3 Replies to “Tameside’s council tax rise approved”

  1. Just got the bill today, gone from £1000 to over £1400. Great isn’t it and when you call 999 and ask for an ambulance you get told to call a taxi. Absolute jokers.

  2. Council tax up by 4..9% they say. Got our bill today and it has increased to 5% because (they say) it has to be rounded up!!!

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