Councillors have voted to push ahead with proposals to increase council tax bills for Burntwood residents.
Burntwood Town Council will raise its share of the bill by 4% after an agreement was reached at a meeting last night (17th November).
The Conservative opposition group had called for a 5% reduction rather than an increase, but ten Labour councillors along with an independent and Liberal Democrat representative backed the 4% rise.
Cllr Robin Place, leader of the Conservative group at the town council, said:
“I am disappointed that the council tax will increase in Burntwood when we hold £580,000 in reserves.
“It didn’t need to rise and I see no justification.
“Council leader Cllr Sue Woodward wants a better Burntwood, as do I, but I don’t believe this is the way to go about it.
“Let’s spend some of those reserves and make a difference in Burntwood.”Cllr Robin Place
Cllr Woodward had previously said the “modest” increase would allow the council to push ahead with projects in the area.
She told Lichfield Live she was disappointed that the Conservatives had not backed the proposals.
“I’m disappointed that, following a very full debate, the Conservatives didn’t feel able to support what every other councillor agreed for our budget.
“Their alternative was a bit of game-playing really when we’re talking about a few pence a week either way.
“But it was right that the debate went ahead, in spite of procedural glitches that I actually helped Robin to iron out so that he was able to present his alternative budget – that’s democracy. “Cllr Sue Woodward
Cllr Place also questioned Labour’s Cllr Steve Norman over his decision to back the increase, having previously called for such a step to be rejected at Lichfield District Council.
“Cllr Norman forgot that in February 2021 he said that no Labour councillor could vote for an increase in budget discussions at the district council, as published by Lichfield Live at the time.”Cllr Robin Place
Cllr Norman said the rise at Burntwood Town Council equated to £1.64 a year – and questioned why Conservative representatives on the town council did not call for cuts at either district or county level.
“I, and my Labour group, opposed the increase at the Lichfield District Council meeting in 2021 because it wasn’t even their budget. Capping means no council can increase the budget by more than 2%, even through they have had their funding cut by 60% since 2010.
“I pointed this out last night as I did the fact that that the proposed cut in council tax of just under 4p a week – £2.05 a year – means that after nine years people on Universal Credit would get their £20 cut for just one week back.
“I also highlighted that the Government’s National Insurance increase would mean an extra £5 a year for those earning £10,000 a year and £130 for those earning £20,000 a year.
“The defence from the Conservative members – happy to be photographed campaigning with Michael Fabricant – seemed to be ‘nothing to do with us, we’re just town councillors’.
“If the district councillors, who are also town councillors, had voted for a 5% reduction then it would mean a £9.01 cut in council tax, and for any county councillors also voting for a 5% cut, it would be a saving of £64.80.
“I voted for an increase of 3.15p a week or £1.64 for the whole year for the plans we have to make us a better Burntwood.”Cllr Steve Norman