Trafford’s ruling Labour Group have forced through yet another Council Tax rise, despite opposition from the local Conservative councillors. Under Trafford Labour, an average ‘Band D’ home will pay an additional £92.50 per year in Council Tax bringing the annual bill to £1,876.76, up over 26% since they took control. The Labour Group also approved a range of cuts, including £300k to the street lighting budget by both dimming the lights and cutting how long at night they’ll be on for.
Commenting on the budget, Cllr. Dave Morgan, Shadow Executive Member for Finance and Governance at Trafford Council said “This is an incredibly difficult time for everyone across the country as families, businesses and local councils try to make ends meet. The council had to make some difficult decisions to produce a balanced budget, but the Conservative Group believe that some of those short-sighted decisions were wrong.
“Trafford Conservatives remain concerned about the rate of increase in Council Tax. Whilst it is always an option for councils to raise it, during one of the most difficult times for families, particularly those who were struggling before the cost of living squeeze, we deeply regret the council increasing its burden on families.
“The reductions in both timing and dimming of street lighting is a risk to public safety.
“Trafford residents are rightly concerned about the poor state of highways and the council is receiving £9.74m from the Department of Transport to support investment in highways and infrastructure. The Labour administration should have placed a greater priority on putting additional funding into highways to bring Trafford’s roads up to an acceptable standard, especially when the Labour administration was able to set aside an additional £150k for councillor expenses. The council is also incurring additional costs through presiding over less recycling in Trafford. In 2017/18 under the last Conservative administration, Trafford was 1st in Greater Manchester and the North West for recycling and 16th place overall in England. By 2020/21, under the Labour administration, the data reveals that Trafford has dropped to second in Greater Manchester for recycling, fourth in the North West and 53rd in England, with the recycling rate having fallen to 53.3%,
“In popping up their budget, Labour have raided £3.79m from the general reserves, money which is now gone and can’t be used again. The council’s Chief Finance Officer highlighted in the budget report that the use of reserves to balance a budget is not sustainable going forward and reduces budget resilience for the future.
“Given all these concerns we have for the borough’s finances, Conservatives were unable to support Labour’s budget and stood up for Trafford residents by voting against it.”