Starmer says Labour would freeze council tax bills this year
Labour government would freeze council tax bills this year, Sir Keir Starmer will say as he launches his party’s campaign for the May local elections.
Speaking in Swindon, Wiltshire, the Labour leader will say the move would be funded with a “proper” windfall tax on the profits of the oil and gas giants.
With the party hoping to pick up seats in the May 4 polls in England, Sir Keir will seek to contrast Labour’s approach with the Tories’ decision in the Budget to ease pension taxes for the well-off with the scrapping of the tax-free lifetime allowance cap.
In an address to supporters on Thursday, he is expected to say: “There is a choice on tax: a Tory choice – taxes up for working people, tax cuts for the 1% – or a Labour choice, where we cut business rates to save our high streets and where, if there was a Labour government, you could take that council tax rise you just got and rip it up.
What they’ve delivered to our country after 13 years in power is nowhere near good enough
“A Labour government would freeze your council tax this year – that’s our choice. A tax cut for the many, not just for the top 1%.”
Labour claims the Government is effectively forcing local authorities to increase council tax by reducing central funding while giving them additional “flexibilities” to raise taxes locally.
The party says this has resulted in an average council tax rise of 5.1%, topping £2,000 for the first time.
Sir Keir is expected to say: “We’ve got to send a message to this Government – what they’ve delivered to our country after 13 years in power is nowhere near good enough.
“We’ve got to get out there and show people the difference Labour can make, let them see our hunger for change.
“We have to prove that this suffocating cost-of-living crisis, the path of decline the Tories have set Britain on, the endless sticking plaster politics, is not inevitable. There is a choice.”
Conservative chairman Greg Hands hit out at Labour, saying its announcement was not “worth the paper it’s written on”.
He said: “They have no plan to introduce this if elected. They’re taking the British people for fools.
“If Labour were serious about cutting council tax Labour councils would be doing it now.
“Instead across the country it’s Labour-run councils with higher council tax, Labour-run Wales where bills have quadrupled and Labour-run London where council tax has gone up 9.7%.”