Hucknall Labour councillors slam Ashfield council tax rise

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Labour councillors have criticised the ruling Ashfield Independents for raising the authority’s council tax for the year to the maximum allowed limit without need for a referendum.

At the authority’s budget meeting on March 3, both Coun Lauren Mitchell and Coun Keir Morrison, who both represent Hucknall South, voted against the proposed rise in council tax.

Posting on the Hucknall Labour Facebook page, they said: “At a time where the cost of living is through the roof, we don't think you should have to pay more because of poor political decisions made by the Ashfield Independents.”

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The three Conservatives on the council abstained from the vote and the proposed rise was comfortably passed as a result with the Independents holding a large majority.

Coun Lauren Mitchell said the council tax rise comes at a brutal time for Ashfield residentsCoun Lauren Mitchell said the council tax rise comes at a brutal time for Ashfield residents
Coun Lauren Mitchell said the council tax rise comes at a brutal time for Ashfield residents

Speaking at the meeting, Coun Mitchell said: “Any opposition group has the opportunity to propose amendments to a budget – or to put forward an entire alternative budget.

"We do not intend to take up that opportunity with this budget; firstly because the numbers are obviously against us and secondly because it will allow more time to address the serious concerns that we have regarding the overall financial performance of this administration.

"I want to stress that our not proposing an alternative should not be seen as automatic approval of everything in front of us.

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"There are, actually, some elements of the budget that we can support.

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"The continued work on digital transformation and the potential savings and improvements it will bring is welcome, though there is a slight worry about potentially bringing £250,000 forward to speed up the process.

"Also, the officers deserve huge congratulations for their work in bringing much-needed funding into Ashfield and we look forward to future successes that, this time, might benefit Hucknall

"It is particularly sad that this administration have found it necessary to increase council tax by the maximum amount possible – even sadder that they are doing so at a brutal time for Ashfield residents facing cost of living rises from every angle.

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"It is interesting that many of the Ashfield Independents voting to increase council tax were insistent only last week at County Hall that tax rises were an evil.

"Obviously, the amounts are different, but saying one thing one Thursday and doing the opposite the next Thursday is never a good look in terms of principle.

"By insisting on freezing the council tax for electoral purposes in two of the last four years, they not only made this rise inevitable but, because of the compounding effect of council tax, they have deprived the authority of significant amounts of revenue – which goes some way to explain the very concerning funding gap.”