Hartlepool councillors take to the streets for petition urging government to 'level up' council tax
Independent Hartlepool councillors hit the streets at the weekend to collect signatures as part of a new campaign to try to reverse council tax hikes.
Councillors behind the Level-Up Hartlepool campaign are running a petition calling on the Government to review its annual funding to Hartlepool Borough Council after years of cuts which have been blamed for council tax rises.
They are aiming to get 10,000 names to allow the issue to be raised and debated in Parliament.
Councillors including independents Paddy Brown, Daren Price and Stephen Picton set up stall in York Road, in Hartlepool town centre, with the petition.
Cllr Brown, who is chair of the council’s economic growth and regeneration committee, said: “It went very well. We had about 18 people collecting names.
"We've just had some amazing news about a successful bid for £25 million one-off grant coming to Hartlepool.
"Frighteningly, we're losing out on that every single year due to government cuts from our council's budget (a whopping 46%).
"Since 2013 our government funding into the council has been slashed by about £22 million which we have to keep raising it through council tax."
With Hartlepool now having a Conservative MP and Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging to level up Britain, the councillors are urging the PM to “put his money where his mouth is”.
Cllr Price added: “In the nicest possible way, it's time for the Conservatives to put their money where their mouth is.
"We now have a Conservative MP, Conservative Tees Valley Mayor, Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner and the Conservatives won every seat they contested in Hartlepool's council elections.
“The cuts made to our budget under previous governments have had a huge impact through cuts to services and increases in council tax to plug the holes.
"It's time we got our share of levelling up."
Cllr Brown said the petition event also supported by members of the ruling coalition on the council and Labour councillors.
In February council leader Cllr Shane Moore said it was “disappointing” the Government was not providing greater funding to local authorities.
More information about the Level-Up Hartlepool campaign and petition can be found on its Facebook page.