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Council Tax

Volume 592: debated on Monday 2 February 2015

3. What estimate he has made of the number of local authorities who are planning to raise council tax by more than 1.99% in the next financial year; and if he will make a statement. (907329)

Councils have yet to set their budgets. I encourage every local council to take up this year’s offer of additional funding to freeze council tax. If they want to hike up council tax, they should put that to the people in a referendum.

A recent TaxPayers Alliance study identified that the chief executive of Pembrokeshire council had a Porsche funded at a cost of some £90,000 and that, in Camden, £3.25 million had been spent on so-called gagging orders for employees who were leaving. What more can be done to bear down on these unnecessary costs that burden the taxpayer?

Transparency is the order of the day. It is sad that the kind of information available to English taxpayers is not available to their Welsh counterparts. With regard to Mr Bryn Parry Jones’s Porsche, if any chief executive puts in a Porsche as part of their terms of contract, I think that is a cry for help. The chap is obviously suffering from a mid-life crisis, and the council would have been better spending money on getting him some professional help.

Kettering borough council, of which I am privileged to be a member, has frozen its council tax throughout the lifetime of this Parliament and now proposes to cut car parking charges. Will those practical and popular policies help local people tackle the cost of living?

I do not know which I like best—my hon. Friend’s council or Ribble Valley council—but that is my kind of council. This is about bringing in jobs and work, making it easy for people to shop, and showing some respect to the electorate. My hon. Friend’s electorate are singularly fortunate in their council and in their representative.