Call for fairer deal on funding and council for Hartlepool - parties unite to demand better from Government

All councillors in Hartlepool have come together to support writing to a lead Government minister to call for a fairer deal on council tax and funding for the town.

By Nic Marko
Saturday, 7th August 2021, 11:34 am
Britain's Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick
Britain's Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick

Hartlepool Borough Council has written to Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to express its concerns about the current council tax system.

The letter has the backing of all 36 Councillors and is signed by the Leader of the Council Councillor Shane Moore, the Leader of the Conservative Group Councillor Mike Young and the Leader of the Labour Group Councillor Brenda Harrison.

It includes asking for a fairer system which delivers on the Government’s levelling up agenda.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Brenda Harrison, Labour

A statement on behalf of councillors Moore, Young and Harrison said the way councils are currently funded is “extremely unfair” for areas like Hartlepool.

They said: “Despite the significant financial challenges the council faces, we do the very best for our community, providing good services.

“However, as our letter clearly sets out, the current council tax system and the way councils are funded is extremely unfair to councils like Hartlepool and is just not sustainable.

“Even the House of Commons’ own Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has warned that council tax is becoming “increasingly regressive” to the detriment of more deprived areas like ours.”

Mike Young, Conservative.

“Clear concerns” set out by the local authority over the current system include labelling council tax “regressive”, stating in the letter that basing the levels on 1991 property values has “broken the system”.

The letter sets out how council tax is “too high” in Hartlepool, and the continued reliance on the Adult Social Care Precept is “not sustainable”, placing an additional financial burden on local taxpayers.

The council has also expressed concerns over how reductions in grant funding prior to 2019/20 has had a “disproportionate impact on more deprived communities” and has “locked these funding cuts” in.

To address these concerns, the council is urging Mr Jenrick to undertake a full council tax revaluation as soon as possible, and provide a fairer grant distribution.

Councillor Shane Moore

Councillors are also calling for funding to freeze council tax for the next three years and provide additional recurring resources to remove the Adult Social Care precept.

It comes after last month councillors unanimously backed two motions endorsing a campaign to level-up Hartlepool’s funding and lobby Government to reduce the region’s council tax.

Support your Mail and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest on Pools and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.