'Enough is enough' - 10 things you said about plans to increase council tax in Hartlepool

Families living in Hartlepool have reacted with anger after councillors approved a 3.9% rise to the town's council tax.

Sunday, 23rd December 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 4:04 pm
A meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council took place on Friday.
A meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council took place on Friday.

Bosses say this is the highest increase possible for the authority without holding a referendum.

Hartlepool Borough Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher

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Nine years of Government cuts left Hartlepool Borough Council with "no choice", said leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, who also warned that councils are on a "financial cliff edge" due to funding shortfalls.

The increase will raise £1.517million in funding for the authority - but Mail readers have hit back at the rise in price, and called for an improvement to their services.

Some argued that they are now "paying more for less" and do not get enough in return for their money.

Coun Akers-Belcher told the meeting that the Government's cuts have left councils with the "invidious choice" of increasing council tax or cutting services further.

He added: "We have worked hard over the past few months to address the 2019/20 budget deficit."

Twenty-one councillors voted in favour of the increase, while eight voted against and one abstained.

One councillor who objected to the plans, Coun James Black, called on the council to scrutinise its own spending further before agreeing to increase the tax.

Here is how you reacted to the story on the Hartlepool Mail Facebook page:

Steve Hope: "For the last nine years ... budget cuts, services cut, hospital virtually gone, crime up, police down, jobs gone, council tax rise after rise, foodbanks needed.

"However, 70% of people in the town don’t turn out to vote, yet nearly 100% of people complain."

Joanie Crump: "Has anyone thought to maybe blame central government, who are the ones starving local councils across the country of funding?

"This is why services are being cut and you're still paying more."

Clare Todd: "This is upsetting news. There is going to be more than nine foodbanks in the town come next year."

Debbie Chapman: "How are the people of Hartlepool supposed to pay for this we have less than many towns and pay the most money."

Ann Butterfield: "Hartlepool one of the most deprived towns in the country. One of the highest taxed!"

Kevin Bradshaw: "[There] must be some way we can stand up against this it's not right."

Steve Kirk: "Council tax is like having a mini mortgage, sick of it."

Sophie Marie Nfse Stephenson: "Just gets worse, people can't afford to live now."

Carol Burton: "No surprise there, yet again we pay one of the highest council taxes for even less in return, it's getting beyond a joke now, enough is enough."

Lynn Robinson: "So what happens to us who can't afford it and is struggling to already."