Labour using poor families ‘as a political football’

Conservative leader Cllr Richard Cornelius has said Barnet Labour “should be ashamed” for exploiting poor families for political gain while doing nothing to help them.

Cllr Cornelius was responding to electioneering attacks by Labour on the Council’s decision to raise the amount of Council Tax low income families pay from 8.5 per cent to 20 per cent in 2015.

However, not only is this figure less than the share paid by low income families in the Labour boroughs of Barking & Dagenham (25 per cent), Ealing (25 per cent), Enfield (26.5 per cent), Harrow (30 per cent), Lewisham (33 per cent), and Waltham Forest (24 per cent), but Barnet Labour declined to reverse the increase in their alternative budget for 2018/19.

Cllr Cornelius said: “Barnet Labour should be ashamed of cynically using the poorest in our borough as a political football on an issue they plan to do nothing about.

“They had the opportunity to scrap the 2015 increase in their alternative budget this year but decided not to. Voters have no reason to believe anything they say.

“Poor families in Barnet currently pay a lesser share of their Council Tax than in the Labour boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Ealing, Enfield, Harrow, Lewisham, and Waltham Forest. The rate is already 30 per cent in Harrow and 33 per cent in Lewisham.”

“But, regardless of the rate, families in Barnet still pay less because the Conservatives keep Council Tax low for the many, not just the few.”

Any increase in the share of Council Tax paid by low income families has been minimal because Barnet’s Conservative-led council has consistently frozen bills across the board — meaning they are now £97 lower in real terms than they were in 2014.

By contrast, bills have increased in real terms by £49 in Labour-run Harrow. This means that, combined with the 30 per cent of Council Tax they must pay there, low income families are being hit with a substantial increase.