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Lib Dems hit out at ‘sheer hypocrisy’ of Tories over council tax pledge

08 Apr 2021 4 minutes Read
Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Montgomeryshire Alison Alexander

The Liberal Democrats have hit out at the “sheer hypocrisy” of the Tories over their council tax pledge.

Alison Alexander, the party’s candidate for Montgomeryshire in the upcoming Senedd elections, made the comments after the Conservatives announced they would introduce a council tax freeze across Wales.

She suggested they were “insulting the intelligence of the electorate” and said in the last four years, the Conservative group on Powys County Council have supported a 26 per cent increase in council tax.

Ahead of the upcoming Senedd election, the Conservative Party said it would fund a council tax freeze for at least the first two years of the next Senedd term, and says it has ambition of freezing it for the full term.

The party said it made the pledge because the pressures on household incomes are set to increase over the next few years as we recover from the pandemic.

Alison Alexander said: “Its beggars’ belief that the Welsh Conservatives expect anyone to believe them when it comes to council tax.

“In the last 4 years, the Conservative group on Powys County Council have supported a 26 per cent rise in council tax.

“This was after all their councillors stood on an election commitment in 2017 not to raise council tax at all during the term 2017-2022.

“The public aren’t the fools the Tories seem to be taking them for, how can anyone seriously expect the Conservative’s to commit to freezing council taxes across Wales when they have presided over such high increases here in Powys that have left those on the breadline struggling?”

‘Mismatch’ 

“There is often a mismatch between what the Conservatives say and what they do in reality. But in this instance in particular they really seem to be insulting the intelligence of the electorate, especially in Powys.

“I’m sure the Welsh Conservatives will seek to blame the government in Cardiff Bay, or the Covid pandemic for the need to increase council tax in Powys, but the reality is the amount of money provided to local authorities from Cardiff has increased this year and council tax had been risen each year since 2017, long before Covid began.

“This is in addition to the Conservatives cutting local government funding in England for several years, which impacted Welsh government financing by the Barnett formula.

“The ruling coalition in Powys council has also rejected alternative budgets with less steep council tax rises and cuts numerous times over the previous four years, but yet they found £5 million to loan to Cheltenham Borough Council in 2019.

“My message for Welsh Conservative’s would be the people of Powys or Wales aren’t as forgetful as you seem to think they are.”

Welsh Conservative local government spokesperson and South East Wales candidate, Laura Anne Jones, said: “Across Wales, communities have come together during the pandemic to support the most vulnerable in society and to fight Covid-19.

“As we begin to see glimmers of optimism in our fight against the virus, the economic and cost of living ramifications will begin to hit home, and people across Wales are now worried about future bills.

“To ease serious concerns, Welsh Conservatives will freeze council tax bills for at least the first two years of the next Senedd term, with the ambition of freezing it for the next five years.

“More money in people’s back pockets means more money in local tills and consequently more support for Wales’ economic recovery.

“Welsh Conservatives will support people with the cost of living in Wales and help families get back on their feet after the difficulties of the past 12 months.”

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