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Shock Stafford tax cut plans spark fury

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: February 05, 2014

By Kerry Ashdown

1172838-WS_NP190313-Borough council-04
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A SURPRISE council tax cut has been sprung by Stafford Borough Council’s ruling party – to the fury of opposition members.

Householders in Band D properties will be able to keep an extra £3.01 in their pocket this year if a proposal unveiled by council leader Mike Heenan is approved.

But the Tories’ two per cent council tax cut proposal – which would see the annual precept paid by Band D householders reduced from £150.73 to £147.72 – came as a bolt out of the blue to non-Conservative councillors.

Labour members expressed anger that they had not been informed of the potential cut – which equates to a £129,013 reduction in the overall precept – before Tuesday’s full council meeting.

Councillor Rowan Draper branded the proposal “gimmick politics.” He added: “I think it is so disrespectful to this council to not give us the courtesy, to spring a decision you are trying to impose on this council.”

Labour councillors abstained from voting for the reduction, which was approved by the majority of the council. The council tax rate is set to be formally ratified at a meeting later this month.

Although the council’s formula grant funding from the Government is being reduced – in line with other councils across the country - it is set to receive a £1.3m New Homes Bonus grant for 2014/15 from the Government.

Councillor Heenan said: “We are able to give some of that bonus back to the hard-pressed taxpayers and hardworking families of the borough. It is right to return it to these people.”

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