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Gloucester Lib Dems propose freezing the council tax

February 23, 2021 11:45 AM
Councillors Jeremy Hilton and Declan Wilson discuss the Lib Dem budget amendmentsOpposition councillors are proposing freezing council tax for residents in Gloucester this year.
The Liberal Democrats on Gloucester City Council have tabled an amendment to the budget proposing a one-off 0% rise to council tax bills in April.
It is in recognition of the huge financial strain being placed on families due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Freezing council tax in 2021/22 would cost nearly £200,000 and would be funded partly from a recently received Government grant and by maintaining the council's working balances at £1.408 million.
The Conservative-run city council is proposing to increase its share of the council tax bill by 2.4%.
The council tax residents in Gloucester contribute pays for services provided by the city council, county council and the police.
The Liberal Democrats are also proposing to freeze off-street car parking fees for one year, which would cost £55,000 and be funded by reducing the Recovery Fund.
The Conservative council is planning to increase parking charges, meaning for example three hours' parking in the Longsmith Street car park would now cost £3.80, instead of £3.50.
While an hour's parking in Ladybellegate Street car park will go up from £1.40 to £1.70.
A further proposal from the Liberal Democrats would see the annual garden waste collection charge frozen for 12 months.
This would cost £40,000 and be paid for by reducing the £900,000 environmental reserve to £860,000.
The Conservative council is planning on increasing the annual garden waste service charge from £44 to £46.
Councillor Jeremy Hilton, leader of the Lib Dem group, said: "The last year has been a tough time for everyone.
"As we emerge from the health, social and financial impact of the virus and rebuild Gloucester's shattered economy, we believe the council should recognise that many people are struggling by not increasing the city's council tax.
"The Liberal Democrats are proposing to help people in three important ways.
"Freezing the council tax levy from the city council and also freezing car park and garden waste collection charges.
"Hiking car parking charges is not the way to encourage people back into the city centre where retailers are in desperate need of support.
"There will be no increase this year from the council if our budget amendments are approved on Thursday.
"Our plan is affordable and deliverable. We hope the controlling group will support us.
"As we recover from the pandemic, let's help Gloucester families a little, by putting more money in their pockets."
Councillor Declan Wilson, Lib Dem finance spokesman and deputy group leader, added: "The city council has just had a £614,000 windfall from the chancellor. The Tories want to put it into reserves.
"We don't, we want to help Gloucester families by reducing the cost of council services to them.
"Our proposals use just under a half of this windfall. It's prudent and will help local families with household budgeting."