Council tax for a band D property in Richmond is set to go up by £87 after the Lib Dem Administration pushed through the increase despite opposition from Conservative Councillors. Despite a projected underspend of £5.7m for Richmond Council this year, the Lib Dem administration still want to push up taxes even when many residents are suffering a loss of income and job uncertainty due to the pandemic.
At the budget council on 2nd March the Conservative Group on Richmond Council shared their plan for a post Covid recovery in Richmond Borough including reducing the general rate of council tax by 0.68%. The Conservative plan included a focus on catch up education, addressing mental health and rejuvenating high streets across the borough all whilst reducing the general level of council tax.
Cllr Aphra Brandreth, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group and spokesperson for Finance said: “On the back of a challenging 12 months this is the year that our residents need help and yet the Lib Dem administration is pushing through a 4.65% council tax rise. The Conservative Government has provided an enormous amount of funding to Councils to help deal with the pandemic, leaving Council finances in a much stronger position than expected.
“There are significant contingencies built into the Lib Dem administration’s budget, and it appears the Lib Dems are simply setting themselves up for another multimillion pound underspend next year – a year which happens to be a local election year when they can use that money for a cynical council tax cut and big spending pledges. The Conservative Group put forward a Covid recovery plan for the borough, but it appears that for the Lib Dems this budget isn’t about helping residents, it’s about helping the Lib Dems with their election campaign next year.”