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Council tax to rise again in Islington as Labour councillors blame Tory cuts

Islington finance chief said this was the type of budget that 'nobody' came into politics to implement.

04 March, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Protesters outside Islington Town Hall on Thursday when the budget was passed 

COUNCIL tax will rise again as the budget was passed at the Town Hall on Thursday with Labour and Green councillors blaming government cuts.

A 2.99 per cent rise in council tax, about £30 a year for the average household, will come into force in April – the start of the next financial year.

Islington finance chief Cllr Andy Hull said, at the full council meeting on Thursday, that this was the type of budget that “nobody here came into politics” to implement as they face a further £50million worth of government cuts by 2022.

Council tax rose by 5.99 per cent last year – the maximum possible amount allowed by the government. That figure included a one-off precept, amounting to three per cent, to fund adult social care services.

Council leader Cllr Richard Watts said he was “angry” at how the Tories have stripped councils but added that this budget maintained a “socialist” agenda sticking “two fingers up to the government and their policies.”

Cllr Richard Watts and Cllr Andy Hull outside Islington Town Hall

Amendments set out by Green Cllr Caroline Russell, the sole opposition councillor in the chamber, were voted down by the other 47 Labour councillors.

Cllr Russell agreed with her Labour colleagues in condemning “cruel and careless” cuts from central government.

In her amendments, she proposed that the price of parking permits should be increased by £104.

She said: “My amendment raises funds on the basis that it should never be cheaper to park a car than a bicycle.”

In Islington it costs £104 to park a bike in a hanger, this is one of the most expensive in England, according to the Greens.

She also called for the removal of the 8.5 per cent council tax charge that the poorest residents in the borough have to pay.

She said: “With evidence of growing arrears, it makes no sense to be charging people council tax when they are simply too poor to pay.”

She also budgeted a further £500,000 a year for adult social services with a £1.4million injection this year.

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