Suffolk Labour leaders back Starmer's call for more cash support for councils and families
- Credit: PA
Labour council group leaders from across Suffolk - led by Ipswich's David Ellesmere - have backed their party leader's call for the government to step in and give authorities more money to avoid the need for council tax rises.
They backed Sir Keir Starmer's call "to put families first during lockdown" by demanding that the government gives the money needed to prevent any council tax rise.
They also called for the government to scrap plans to change Universal Credit, to give all public sector workers a pay rise. And they called for an extension to the ban on evictions and repossessions while the UK remains in lockdown.
Sir Keir said: “The Government must secure the economy to protect family incomes and protect business in Suffolk.
“While millions are worried about the future of their jobs and how they will make ends meet, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are forcing local government to hike up council tax.
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"The Prime Minister said he would do 'whatever is necessary' to support local authorities in providing vital services – he needs to make good on that promise."
In a joint statement Ipswich council leader Mr Ellesmere, Sarah Adams; Leader of the Labour Group on Suffolk County Council; Peter Byatt, Leader of the Labour Group on East Suffolk Council; and Diane Hind, Leader of the Labour Group on West Suffolk Council; said: "The Conservatives’ plan for Suffolk in 2021 is simple - pay more, get less.
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"They want a huge council tax rise that would see local families paying an extra £24.2 million and they are forcing cuts to services because they have broken their promise to cover the cost of Covid."
Conservative-controlled Suffolk County Council is planning a 4% council tax rise this year - 1% less than the maximum allowed.
Gordon Jones, cabinet member for finance, said last month that the reason the authority did not opt for the maximum was “to try and get a balance”.
He said: “It’s been challenging times for the local authority, as all local authorities, but it has been challenging times for businesses and families the length and breadth of the county, so we have tried to take a balanced and pragmatic approach.”