BNP slated for council tax madness

Plans by the BNP to make £17.5 million in cuts in council spending over the next five years to make the borough's council tax the lowest in London - was described as ‘madness' by the council's ruling Labour group today.

And opposition members warned that if adopted the plan would hit frontline services the council are trying to protect.

The BNP in their alternative budget, propose a 7% reduction in the council tax in 2010/11, which would cost £3.5 million in the new financial year. They also propose a similar cut in each of the next four years - a total of £17.5 million over the next five years.

The BNP are also proposing an extra £5.5 million cuts in the council budget this year and also propose to take a further £900,000 from the council's reserves at a time when the authority is attempting to build up reserves to deal with tough fiscal times ahead.

Labour councillor and cabinet member for finance Graham Bramley said: "This is financial madness. We are in a recession and live in very difficult economic times. This is the worst possible time economically to want to make swingeing cuts in the council budget, all because you want to get a cheap headline and empty accolade of having the lowest council tax in London.

"To get that headline, make no mistake, front line services would be harmed. If the BNP got their way, year after year this council would have to make huge cuts which would inevitably hit the borough's pensioners, harm childcare and children's education and the ability of this council to deliver frontline services.

Councillor Mick McCarthy added: "This is a bonkers idea that speaks volumes about the BNP's grasp of finance and their understanding of the tough times we live in.

"It shows just how reckless and dangerous the BNP are. They are more interested in getting publicity for themselves, regardless of the damage they would cause to council services and budgets."