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Covid-19: Drop ‘absurd’ 5% council tax increase – Starmer

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Publishedduration5 hours ago”Absurd” council tax rises due in April should be scrapped to ease the pressure on family budgets, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said.Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said local authorities in England will be able to raise council tax by 5%, with 3% used to top-up adult social care budgets.Labour said it meant…

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“Absurd” council tax rises due in April should be scrapped to ease the pressure on family budgets, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said local authorities in England will be able to raise council tax by 5%, with 3% used to top-up adult social care budgets.

Labour said it meant those living in a band D property could see bills rise by an average of £90.

Sir Keir said the prime minister should provide extra funding to councils.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the Labour leader said: “It is absurd that during the deepest recession in 300 years, at the very time millions are worried about the future of their jobs and how they will make ends meet, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are forcing local government to hike up council tax.

“The prime minister said he would do ‘whatever is necessary’ to support local authorities in providing vital services – he needs to make good on that promise.”

Sir Keir urged Boris Johnson to “give families the security they need” by dropping the tax increase.

He said families had been treated as an “afterthought” by the government during the pandemic, adding that Labour would become the “party of the family” under his leadership.

The chancellor’s Spending Review in November set out the cost to the UK economy so far of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Sunak warned the “economic emergency” caused by the pandemic had only begun, with lasting damage to growth and jobs.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.9% in the three months to October, with the jobless total up to 1.7 million people.

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