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Bonkers Blog March 2014

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12 March - Council Tax analysis

Councillor Malik (Labour) grabbed my attention at the last council meeting. He said that the biggest council tax rises had been made by Conservatives and I have spent a lot of time researching whether that can be true.

One of the biggest reasons for me moving to Bexley 27 years ago was because its Rates, as they were called then, were low. I am as sure as I can be after all that time that only two London boroughs charged less.

Over the weekend and subsequently I have managed to track down the charges made by every London borough for 16 of the past 23 years. Presenting them in a simple way is proving to be time consuming and there is unfortunately a very obvious error within the GLA supplied data for 2004 and 2005. Critical years if looking into Labour’s record in Bexley.

Many of us will remember how Labour put up Bexley’s council tax very steeply during their term of office (2002-2006) but how spendthrift were they compared to London as a whole? Were they perhaps not a lot worse than the other 31 boroughs?

So far I have established that in 1991 only three London boroughs levied lower taxes than Bexley and one of those was only a pound a year lower.

By 2001 fourteen boroughs were charging less than Bexley and that was unchanged just before Labour took over in May 2002. Labour dropped us three places relative to the rest of London in their first year and was no worse two years later. However they did rather blow it in 2006 when they allowed six more boroughs to get in front of Bexley.

So did the Tories ride to the rescue? Absolutely not. For all their eight years of cuts and trumpet blowing, Bexley Conservatives have made no progress whatsoever. Bexley remains stubbornly in 24th position.

Conservatives dropped us one place for every year they were in power, then along came Labour and made it nine places in four years, but Teresa O’Neill has absolutely failed to make things better.

Note: Because of the mistakes discovered in the GLA source data this report may be subject to change but the obvious errors are unlikely to affect it.


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