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Kingston Council ‘out of control’, says Conservative opposition leader

A council tax increase in Kingston shows the council is ‘out of control’, the leader of the borough’s Conservative opposition said today.

Councillor Kevin Davis slammed the Liberal Democrats for announcing a 4.99% council tax increase on Monday, but not doing enough to manage funds properly.

Kingston is one of the most expensive areas for council tax in the UK according to propertydata.co.uk.

Davis said: “The council is frankly out of control. It’s being run by officers and the leadership of the Lib Dems is all over the place. They don’t know whether they are going to survive from one month to the next.

“They know that there is pain being felt by local people, people losing their jobs, and on top of that we’ve seen a rise in council tax of 5%.

“This means we end up with not just the highest council tax in London, but the second-highest council tax in the country and we’re not getting much for it.

“There’s a whole bunch of other services that are going to be cut or reduced. They’re cutting money out of the libraries, cutting money out of residential care for vulnerable adults. How is it possible that all that adds up? It doesn’t.

“It’s a very lazy budget, they’ve not worked at all hard to try and restrain themselves and in three years our council tax has gone up 16% which I find unacceptable.”

The increase will be presented to councillors on 25 February and is set to come into effect from April 2021.

The Liberal Democrats have held Kingston Council since the 2018 Local Elections where they won 39 seats and 52% of the vote.

Announcing the increase on Monday, Lib Dem Leader of the Council councillor Caroline Kerr said: “We understand any increase in council tax will impact residents but we must protect the services people rely on and continue to provide the support our most vulnerable residents need.

“From receiving £66m in general government grants in 2010 we now receive nothing.

“Almost 90% of the council’s budget comes from council tax and business rates. At a time when we are facing an increase in demand and a loss of income because of the pandemic we have no choice but to raise council tax.”

Featured image credit: Bob Parkes via Geograph

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