Tory councillors in Northumberland hit out at Labour over council tax support

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Conservative county councillors in Northumberland have criticised their Labour counterparts in neighbouring authorities over the level of council tax support provided.

Members of the council’s cabinet have agreed to continue to provide up to 92% of council tax support for the county’s most vulnerable residents.

In 2019, the council reduced the maximum level of relief on council tax for working-age claimants from 100 per cent to 92 per cent – and have faced calls on an annual basis to reinstate the higher rate of support ever since.

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But the council’s leader and deputy leader took the opportunity to criticise their political opponents.

Deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, Richard Wearmouth.Deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, Richard Wearmouth.
Deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, Richard Wearmouth.

Deputy leader Coun Richard Wearmouth said: “Every year this administration pledges to help those who need our help the most, and this year is no exception. Yet again we’re putting in place a scheme that will support up to a level of 92%.

“That makes this administration – a Conservative administration – the most generous in the North East other than Durham – which also happens to have at least a part Conservative administration. It’s something that our Labour colleagues may want to reflect on when they’re setting their budgets in the LA7 and indeed further affield.

“This support is a key policy to reduce inequalities across the county and I think it is sometimes dwelling on the huge number that we pledge in support every year. There will be further consideration of what additional support we might be able to provide in terms of hardship measures.”

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Council leader Glen Sanderson added: “I think it’s really interesting the point that you make about other councils and that we are very generous. Last budget we actually upped the amount we gave to those people who need our help the most.

“It was one of the most generous schemes anywhere in the country. I’m really proud that we do this.”