A Kingston conservative councillor has lambasted the Royal Borough as a “morally bankrupt” and outdated 18th century administration with a “reckless” attitude to spending.
The damning comments were made by Cllr Richard Hudson of Alexander Ward after news broke of the council’s intention to raise council tax by 1.99 per cent, just below the 2 per cent cap, defying government call for a third year freeze.
Cllr Hudson said: “The unnecessary 1.99 per cent planned rise in council tax is set at a level blatantly and cynically aimed at avoiding democratic say on the rise.
“The Lib Dems are led by a man who came into politics to spend public money, not save it. Spending taxpayer’s money wisely is one thing, reckless spending is another.
“This is a morally bankrupt administration out of ideas and out of time. It would be great if the Royal Borough of Kingston’s operating methods were dragged from the 18th century into the 20th century, the 21st century would be better.”
Angry residents also branded the council as “greedy” and “sneaky” over its council tax hike decision.
Diane Fry, a 57-year-old retired pensioner who looks after two grandchildren full-time reacted furiously to the news. She said: “What more do they want from us tax payers? They are just getting greedy. We even have to pay to park outside our own house.
“Everything is increasing. It is just work to survive and not a life anymore. We can’t afford to live. Enough is enough.”
Mrs Fry, who currently pays £203 a month on her band D property, could see her Council Tax bill rise to £207.04 pm.
Another angry resident who wishes to remain anonymous also expressed disappointed over the rise. The nursery nurse who currently pays £240pm on her Band E property was not aware of the future increase. She said: “It is quite alarming that they can sneak it in to just below the two per cent cap. Everything is going up – all the bills, gas, electricity and we are not getting a pay increase.”
Derek Osbourne, Council Leader, said the council was doing “its best” to cut costs while “protecting” essential services. “As the government’s cuts continue to bite, we are doing our best to cut costs whilst protecting services that matter most to people. Our finances are being squeezed ever more tightly,” he said.
Kingston council is one of only five London councils who will raise next year’s council tax to just below the two per cent cap; an unpopular move which has seen them branded as “Democracy Dodgers” by Community Secretary, Eric Pickles.
Have your say and petition against next year’s council tax rise by signing the e-petition here.
Or call: 020-8546-6367/8547-5130