Benn promises a cap on bills

Hilary Benn with Veronica King in Garforth
Hilary Benn with Veronica King in Garforth
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HILARY Benn has promised Labour will keep the limit on council tax bill rises if the party wins the General Election.

Mr Benn, Labour’s spokesman on council affairs, pledged to keep the current Government’s rules on council tax rises in place as he campaigned in Garforth yesterday.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has stopped local authorities increasing their bills by more than two per cent every year unless they hold a referendum of local voters to approve a bigger increase.

Asked about the cap on council tax bills today, Mr Benn said: “No we are not going to do that, we are not going to lift that.”

He added: “Finance is very tough for people. There is a cost of living crisis as you may have noticed we have been arguing.”

Mr Benn, who is defending his Leeds Central seat at the election, claimed councils serving the poorest areas had been hit hardest by funding cuts under the Coalition.

He pointed to figures suggesting the spending power of Leeds City Council has been cut by £135 per person compared to £42.34 in West Oxfordshire, home of David Cameron’s constituency.

Mr Benn said: “The Government says ‘we’re all in this together and those with the broadest shoulders should bear the biggest burden’.

“If that is the case why have you done the very opposite when it comes to allocating the money?”

Mr Benn was campaigning with Veronica King Labour’s candidate for the Elmet and Rothwell seat which is currently held by the Conservatives with a majority of 4,561.