Council tax frozen again

Nelson Town Hall
Nelson Town Hall

Pendle Council has frozen its share of the council tax for a fifth successive year.

But Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors told the annual budget meeting that this had only been achieved by passing on the responsibility for dealing with certain matters to town and parish councils and the increased precepts levied as a result meant that bills would rise.

Council managers had recommended that bills should rise by 1.99%, the same increase as agreed by Lancashire County Council, the county’s police and crime commissioner and the county fire authority earlier this month.

But both the ruling coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats and the Labour opposition brought forward budget proposals showing no increase in Pendle’s share of the tax, which has now stayed at the same level since 2010.

Both rejected the introduction of charges for the collection of charges for bulky household waste and replacement wheelie bins and a contribution to the cost of police community support officers, while the coalition also voted against ceasing funding for the library in Fence.

Labour, meanwhile, said the £15,000 spent on this could be used to pay for free swimming at weekends for under 16s.

The parties were split on the future of the Discover Pendle Centre based at Boundary Mill – the coalition is to review the service delivered, while Labour would have closed it.

At the vote, the coalition budget was passed by 24 votes to 14, while an amendment by Liberal Democrat Coun. David Whipp to cut £8,800 from the sums paid in allowances was passed by 21 votes to 19, with some Conservatives voting with Labour against it.

Council leader Coun. Joe Cooney told the meeting that he would take a 20% cut in the allowance paid to him as leader.

“In real terms, tax bills are lower than they were 10 years ago. We have a proven track record of delivering value for money services that people deserve,” he said.

Labour leader Coun. Mohammed Iqbal said under the Conservatives, the numbers of people relying on food banks had gone up. “If that is something he is proud of, let him stand up and say so,” he said.