‘What do I have to show for this money?’ – anger at proposed council tax rise in Hartlepool

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Mail readers have spoken out - with 80% saying they are against a proposed rise in council tax.

Councillors at a meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Finance and Policy Committee will be asked to choose between a 4.9% and 5.9% rise.

Each is made up of a 2.9% increase in the basic rate of council tax – the largest rise possible without triggering a referendum on the proposals – and a rise of either two or three per cent to account for the precept for Adult Social Care.

The Mail launched a reader poll asking: “Would you be happy to pay more council tax if it means more cash to care for the vulnerable?”

In it 80% said no and 20% agreed they would.

The issue also attracted debate among readers on out Facebook page.

Paul Nedley wrote: “Not happy with that... !! Not with stagnated wages and inflation lower than that figure ... not good value for money.”

Thomas Swanson commented: “Ah but you can’t vote yourself a large increase in allowances to cover it.”

Steve Gibbon stated: “What a shame the councillors who gladly accepted the 31% increase in allowances didn’t stop to think about the vulnerable who obviously need it more before accepting the increase.”

Andy Pounder commented: “Well, I didn’t see that coming. Really wouldn’t mind, but what do I have to show for this money.”

Matty Eames wrote: “Why dont the councils take a pay cut instead.” and Sarah Church-Ward simply stated: “Disgraceful!”

Ian Saunders said: “What a joke yet people keep voting them in.”

Steve Murray stated: “Anyone else on here had a 31% pay rise?”

Hartlepool councillors provoked a storm of criticism after voting to give themselves a 31% increase in basic allowances in June last year.

The rise, which was recommended by an Independent Remuneration Panel, saw the basic allowance given to the town’s 33 councillors increased from £5,953 to £7,792 a year.

It was deemed the rise would bring Hartlepool more in line with the allowances paid by neighbouring councils, but some councillors said they would not take it.

The proposal will be discussed by Hartlepool Borough Council’s Finance and Policy Committee at a meeting on Monday and the decision will be referred to the full council for final approval.