Hartlepool councillors’ trip to Westminster to argue for better council tax deal delayed

A planned trip by Hartlepool councillors to London to lobby the Government over council tax has been delayed.

By Mark Payne
Sunday, 24th October 2021, 3:29 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th October 2021, 3:30 pm

Elected members, including those in the Fairer Share Hartlepool campaign group, had been due to travel to Westminster earlier this month.

It was to argue the case for a change to the current council tax system to provide more funding to the town.

But they were forced to postpone the trip after requests for meetings with ministers from council leader Cllr Shane Moore went unanswered.

Councillors Shane Moore (top) and Paddy Brown hope to travel to London to lobby minsters early next year about council tax in Hartlepool.

It is hoped it will now take place early next year.

Cllr Moore said: “We have requested a meeting with the newly appointed Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to put forward our case for a new – and ultimately fairer – system for council tax.

“Unfortunately, it hasn’t been possible to arrange this conversation within our desired timescale, but we will continue to push for this meeting to take place.”

Hartlepool MP Jill Mortimer has offered to help councillors fix up a meeting over council tax.

Cllr Brown, who is urging all 35 council colleagues to travel to London, described the lack of response as “disheartening to say the least”.

He added: “We will be pushing again for another meeting in January with a lot more notice now so it gives them no reason to get off the hook.

"One of the main contentions in Hartlepool is the amount of council tax we pay compared to more affluent areas so I think it should be something every councillor is behind.”

Cllr Brown said the trip would be funded personally not by taxpayers.

Town MP Jill Mortimer told the Mail she would be happy to help organise a meeting over the issue.

She said: “I am more than happy to facilitate a meeting about this issue which is something I also feel strongly about given the high level of council tax in Hartlepool.”

Labour deputy group leader Cllr Jonathan Brash said he hoped Mrs Mortimer would be true to her word and claimed she had not lobbied for fair funding to avoid an increase.

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