Here’s my latest Ham and High column – also available on Lib Dem Voice.
There are so many perks of living in Haringey – vibrant high streets, good transport links, wonderful parks and views – to name but a few!
But on the downside, our bin collections, roads and other public services are notoriously bad. Haringey Council – which is run by Labour – has been rated the worst in London.
Week in, week out, Haringey Labour seem to lurch from one crisis to another. They failed to meet their own targets for making our local roads safe, and allowed £3.7 million to be spent on bonuses which could have been spent on repairs to local homes.
This just isn’t fair on local residents or the hard working officials and frontline workers at the Council. We all deserve a Council that is run efficiently, and directed to spend taxpayers money on the things that matter most.
Despite the poor services, under the previous Labour Government the average Council Tax bill in Haringey increased by a whopping £474. Year on year, Council Tax for Haringey residents increased way above the rate of inflation.
Constantly rising Council Tax did not help individuals and families with the cost of living – particularly after the recession began.
The Liberal Democrats, however, are taking steps to help with the cost of living. Addressing spiralling Council Tax bills is one of these steps.
Since the Liberal Democrats entered Government in 2010 – Council Tax for Haringey residents has been frozen. This is due to successful local Liberal Democrat campaigning, and the Government giving extra cash to any Council if they do not increase Council Tax.
This protects residents from the kind of arbitrary tax rises we saw under Labour. A typical Band D Council Tax bill in Haringey will be £229.63 less from April 2014 than if Labour’s increases carried on as before.
The Liberal Democrats in Government have also secured a £700 tax cut for all workers.
In April, the personal tax allowance (the amount of your salary you can keep before being taxed) will rise to £10,000.
This means that almost 90,000 residents will get to keep an extra £700 of their pay-packet this year. This is a flagship Lib Dem policy – it was on the front of our 2010 manifesto and it has been delivered in Government. We’re now campaigning to make it an £800 tax cut.
This is real Lib Dem action to bring the cost of living down for local residents. The Tories alone would not have done this. In 2010, David Cameron said ‘we couldn’t afford it.’ Labour had 13 years in Government to bring in policies like this – and they failed to do so.
There is still so much work to do. The economic crisis has taken its toll on many in Haringey, and we are only just beginning to see signs of recovery.
But these measures, Council Tax freezes and the £700 tax cut for all workers are designed to help with the cost of living, and they wouldn’t be happening without the Lib Dems in Government.