Starmer’s Slippery Council Tax Spin
Starmer big play in this speech this morning called on council tax and social care levy hikes to be outlawed. A move that stuck Guido as a welcome change of tune, given Sir Keir is on record saying councils should retain, not scrap taxes. In February, Starmer told a Local Government Association hustings:
“We need to give councils more ability to retain taxes. They should be able to introduce a ‘hotel tax’, if they introduce a Clean Air Zone, they should be able to retain some of the air passenger duty, they should be able to keep some of the landfill tax’.”
It’s not just his previous self that he’s suddenly disagreeing with however; Labour figures whose constituents are facing raised council taxes include Angela Rayner, Anneliese Dodds, Lisa Nandy, Nick Thomas-Symonds, Rachel Reeves, David Lammy, John Healey, Ed Miliband, Jonathan Reynolds, Kate Green, Jo Stevens, Bridget Phillipson, Luke Pollard, Jim McMahon, and Louise Haigh.
Starmer’s announcement comes just days after Sadiq Khan revealed his plans for a 10% hike in his share of council tax. Band D bills will soar from April in order to give all teenagers and over 60s free travel. Curiously, despite their leader’s rhetoric today, dozens of Labour-run councils have already announced plans for council tax hikes. Tory candidate Shaun Bailey is going in hard on the news – sending a letter to Starmer to demand Sadiq scraps the hypocritical plans…
The Local Government Association Labour Group – comprising the most senior Labour figures in local government – has even called for the immediate abolition of the council tax referendum limit which since 2011 has prevented hikes above 5% in council tax in England. Starmer appears to be totally at odds with his party’s local government leadership…