Council tax rise is lowest around
Date published: 20 February 2009
NEW figures show Oldham’s proposed council tax rise is the lowest in Greater Manchester — while managing not to dip into reserves.
Oldham Council’s Lib-Dem leaders say the 2.5 per cent rise, including police and fire precepts, will rid the borough of its tag of the highest charge in the region, while protecting services.
As revealed by the Evening Chronicle, the increase will see the charge for Band A properties increase by £24.63 to £1,009.39. The tax for an average Band D house rises to £1,514.07.
Elsewhere, Trafford’s proposed increase is 5 per cent, Bury’s is 4.73 per cent, Stockport’s 4.5 per cent, Bolton’s 4.22 per cent, Rochdale’s 4.04 per cent, Tameside’s 3.93 per cent, Manchester’s 3.46 per cent, Salford’s 3.4 per cent and Wigan’s 2.58 per cent.
But Oldham also achieved one of the biggest spending increases. Despite the low tax rise the council’s spend has gone up by 3.58 per cent, just behind Bury and Bolton and well ahead of Salford’s 2.4 per cent.
Oldham’s Lib-Dem leaders have plugged a £20 million shortfall with a raft of savings, including a total of 488 council posts predicted to go in 2009/10 with a further 56 between 2010 and 2012.
Council leader Howard Sykes said: “There are councils of all political colours on that list and we are doing the lowest rise. I’m delivering on my pledge.”
He dismissed Labour’s alternative budget of a zero rise and free swimming sessions as a gimmick.
Rather than saving Oldhamers 47p a week it was better to pool the resources to fund more beneficial improvements, he said. And the alternative budget gives no slack to respond to events - such as if the economic situation deteriorates further.
Councillor Sykes added: “We have had their style of budget for four to five years and it’s got us in the mess we are in.”
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