Labour says it would freeze council tax bills for one year with ‘proper’ windfall tax
Labour will freeze council tax for a year using funds generated by a “proper” windfall tax on oil and gas giants, Sir Keir Starmer will announce on Thursday.
As he launches the party’s local election campaign in Swindon, Sir Keir will seek to contrast Labour’s approach with the Tories’ decision in the Budget to ease pension taxes for the well-off with the scrapping of the tax-free lifetime allowance cap.
With the party hoping to pick up seats in the 4 May polls in England, the Labour leader is expected to tell supporters: “There is a choice on tax: a Tory choice – taxes up for working people, tax cuts for the 1 per cent – or a Labour choice, where we cut business rates to save our high streets and where, if there was a Labour government, you could take that council tax rise you just got and rip it up.
“A Labour government would freeze your council tax this year – that’s our choice. A tax cut for the many, not just for the top 1 per cent.”
Labour claims the government is effectively forcing local authorities to increase council tax by reducing central funding while giving them additional “flexibilities” to raise taxes locally.
The party says this has resulted in an average council tax rise of 5.1 per cent, topping £2,000 for the first time.
Sir Keir is expected to say: “We’ve got to send a message to this government – what they’ve delivered to our country after 13 years in power is nowhere near good enough.
“We’ve got to get out there and show people the difference Labour can make, let them see our hunger for change.
“We have to prove that this suffocating cost of living crisis, the path of decline the Tories have set Britain on, the endless sticking plaster politics, is not inevitable. There is a choice.”
The Labour party also said it was publishing new analysis which reveals that on average, Labour-controlled councils charge £345 less than Conservative-controlled councils.
It claimed that the average Band D council tax in Labour areas is £72 lower than in Tory ones.
Alongside his promise to freeze council tax, Sir Keir is set to reiterate Labour’s pledges to keep energy bills low “for good” by insulating 19 million homes, reverse the government’s planned pension changes, and introduce specific measures to keep doctors in work.
The Labour leader will also restate his commitment to close the non-dom tax loophole, which the party claims would bring in £3.2bn a year to spend on schools and the NHS.