Labour: tax rise to hit the poor

A top Labour councillor has slammed Tory plans to proceed with a free garden waste collection service in Amber Valley- while hundreds of people risk being cut adrift by council tax 
reforms.

From April, unemployed people in Amber Valley, as well as those who are disabled and lone parents, will see their council tax bill rise on average by more than £67 a year.

It comes after a Government decision to reduce the benefits grant it gives local authorities each year by 10 per cent.

Amber Valley Borough Council says it has to make up the £850,000 shortfall, including introducing a benefits cap for claimants of working age which will claw back £350,000 this year.

The rest will come through increased tax on second and vacant homes.

But opposition Labour group leader Cllr Paul Jones has called the decision ‘callous’ and says poor people in Heanor in will be hardest hit - while the free garden waste service will mainly benefit those with bigger properties and higher incomes, including in Belper.

He said: “It would appear the Tories would rather provide free green waste collection, at a cost to the council of £500,000 a year for the residents of Duffield Swanwick, Kilburn and Belper - than help those less fortunate in our society.

“There appears to be no compassion from those who currently run Amber Valley.”

Tory council leader Cllr Stuart Bradford said: “I feel strongly we have struck the right balance between helping residents to recycle and balancing the books for all the residents we serve - a balance that all local authorities across the country have found it difficult to strike given the challenges we all face”.