Cardiff County Hall
In the forthcoming weeks and months Cardiff Council will begin to come under attack from - in particular - the Liberal Democrat group for it's decision to freeze Council Tax. 

The decision was due to a Labour party 'pre-election' pledge - that Council Tax would not be increased in the first year of the new Council. As soon as their budget is announced, I have no doubt that there will be some howls of protest that they are not protecting the jobs of their workforce. However they will argue that there is a wider issue which cannot (and should not) be overlooked.

As elected representatives, all our Councillors - from whatever party - have a responsibility to do the right thing for their constituents. This therefore includes all residents of the City, not solely those who work for the Council. We should not be too surprised if it is the Liberal Democrats who decide to lead the assault, but they should look to their own actions before directing their ire elsewhere. It is often said that attack is the best form of defence. Given their parlous state in the polls at present, it would be hugely surprising if they do not come forward with some form of outwardly plausible suggestion for a moderate increase to Council Tax which could safeguard a particular 'non-essential' service.

And if the Labour Council acquiesced to this, then they'd be pilloried between now and the next election for being the party of tax increases!

Let's now look at the record of the Lib Dems and the Conservatives at Westminster. In addition to their constant talk of austerity (of which we've only had a small proportion of that which is planned), they have proposed debilitating cuts which impact on those people most at risk in our society. This is described as a simplification of the benefits system. This simplification, however, disguises cuts which will impact disproportionately on those who are most in need. Those, for example, who will benefit from the additional £22m funding which has been allocated by the Welsh Government to help those facing a Council Tax support cut.

So is it better that Cardiff council acts decisively, and that we residents know the amount that we have to find for the coming year? Alternatively, would it be better to renege on their key manifesto pledge and increase council tax to make up any budgetary shortfall or to invest further in non-essential services? It's a precarious decision to make - but surely it was made when the initial pledge was given?

1/20/2013 02:04:25 am

I, for one, think that it would be scandalous if the council renege on their promise and hide behind the excuse that "things were worse than we realised". Surely they did their homework before seeking election, and as such they should stand by their pledge. To do otherwise would leave them politically bankrupt

1/20/2013 07:48:47 pm

Hi Mike. Thanks for your comment.

I agree with your sentiment here. Although it is, in the short term, probably easier for the Labour group to blame the past administration doesn't that just mean that they're stooping to the level of the ConDems? I respect people who make a decision and then stick to it rather than those who try to weasel their way out of it using semantics.

1/31/2013 07:39:38 am

I've not had a chance to look at it in any detail yet - but the Cardiff Council draft budget has now been presented to Full Council. Unless I have overlooked it, there seems to be little by way of a statement that Council Tax will be affected. But that can be read either way....


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