People's voice sought on tax

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Indy Politics
(First Edition)

ALL 70,000 households in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets are being asked whether they want cuts in services or a lower council tax, writes Ngaio Crequer.

Last year, residents were consulted on the poll tax. The majority, 45 per cent, opted for setting poll tax at the highest possible level to maintain services. The council reflected that by increasing the tax from pounds 147 to pounds 208.

Residents will now be offered three options. Option 1, the maximum the Government will let the council spend, to avoid capping, will mean small cuts, 'but nothing will be seriously affected'. Option 2 involves a small cut in council tax, but with 'cuts in road repairs, less maintenance of parks and open spaces, library opening hours, school equipment and books'.

Option 3 would bring a more substantial cut, but 'is likely to lead to major cuts such as grants to many voluntary groups, social services, closure of leisure facilities, no maintenance of open spaces, education facilities and equipment'.