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Camden Green Party call for referendum on council tax hike of £1 a week

Green councillor Maya de Souza and the Camden Green Party want a referendum on raising council tax Green councillor Maya de Souza and the Camden Green Party want a referendum on raising council tax

Friday, February 7, 2014
2:00 PM

Camden’s Green Party has called for a referendum to be held on increasing council tax – saying a rise of £1 a week could help fund vital council services.

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Green councillor Maya de Souza and her party are calling for a vote on whether Camden Council should increase council tax by 4.5 per cent to prevent cuts to frontline services such as libraries, community projects and nurseries.

The Labour local authority has recently committed to freezing council tax for the fourth year in a row in line with the majority of London boroughs.

Ahead of the council publishing its budget next week, the Camden Green Party is trying to rally support from other political parties on the council for a referendum on increasing council tax, which it says would raise £3million.

Conservative councillor Don Williams, chairman of the resources and corporate performance scrutiny committee, has agreed to put the referendum proposal on the committee’s agenda but told the Ham&High it is not something he supports.

The Green’s proposal is almost identical to one put forward by Brighton’s Green Party earlier this month.

Cabinet member for finance, Labour councillor Theo Blackwell, said four years of freezing council tax has saved households at least £114 a year.

He said of the proposed referendum: “Council tax hits lower and middle-earners harder, so the proposal is regressive.”

Cllr Keith Moffitt, leader of the Camden Liberal Democrats, said the Greens need to find out what government grants are available if a local authority freezes council tax before asking for a referendum. He highlighted that many families already struggle to pay their council tax bills.

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