Council leader hits back over tax freeze row

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THE leader of a rebel Yorkshire council has hit back at the Government’s “buy now, pay later” plans to freeze tax bills.

York Council announced on Friday that it was due to defy Ministers and instigate a 2.9 per cent increase in its share of the council tax bill.

It became the latest local authority in the region to turn down the offer of a one-off grant from Westminster aimed at preventing any rises. Local Government Minister Bob Neill branded the move as an “incredibly inconsiderate decision”.

But the leader of York Council’s Labour administration James Alexander claimed yesterday that the Government’s “buy now pay later” council tax funding option would mean £2.2m extra in cuts over the next two years.

He added: ““Bob Neill needs to be honest with the people of York and explain that his party’s policy means more cuts in York than Labour, or larger council tax increases in the future than Labour.

“The Conservative-led Government talks about localism and yet when York makes a local decision, it is attacked.”