Commenting on the Birmingham Labour Party manifesto for the City council elections, leading local Liberal Democrat Cllr Ann Holtom said that: "If any reminder was really needed, the section on Council Tax shows we can never afford to go back to the way Birmingham was run under Labour. This manifesto is almost silent on Council Tax. Does Labour think it should stay low - or will they raise it thought the roof, like before?"
The manifesto says: "We will not increase council tax in 2012." That at least is correct, since it has already been set by the present administration and cannot be changed. Cllr Holtom said: "It is important to remember Labour's most recent record on Council Tax. Simply, it was a financial mess. Labour repeatedly failed to stay within budget, with sudden freezes of department budgets mid-way through the year. In 2001, for six months, the Transportation Department did not fill any potholes, as it was running over budget. The only way Labour knew how to govern was to increase Council tax above the rate of inflation."
Here is the annual Council tax rises under Labour and the rate of inflation:
Year Council tax increase Inflation rate
1999/00 5.42% 1.8%
2000/01 4.99% 2.9%
2001/02 4.40% . 07%
2002/03 4.40% 2.9%
2003/04 4.40% 2.8%
2004/05 1.50% 3.5%
"Yet despite those regularly above inflation Council tax increases, the quality of Council services declined. Labour's own government inspectors rated the Council as 'poor' and threatened to take Social Services and the Planning department out of the Council's hands since they were being so badly run.
In other words, Labour took more and more of our hard-earned money and did less and less with it.
Contrast those Council tax increases with the present administration, which has kept increases as low as possible whilst continually improving council services.
Year Council tax Increase Inflation rate
2005/06 2.80% 2.2%
2006/07 1.90% 4.4%
2007/08 1.90% 4.0%
2008/09 1.90% 0.09%
2009/10 1.90% 2.4%
2010/11 1.90% 4.8%
2011/12 0% 5.2%
20012/13 0% 3.6%
As a result Birmingham now has the lowest Council tax in the West Midlands and one of the lowest in the UK for a metropolitan area. Let's keep it that way."