A ROW over Dartford Council’s budget has broken out after Labour councillors attack the proposals as “Tory gimmicks”.
Last night’s meeting saw members agree to freeze council tax again, meaning it is the same level as it was in 2010.
Leader Councillor Jeremy Kite spoke about the need to help residents through not increasing Council Tax however Dartford’s Labour councillors say this is “hypocritical” because the bills will rise under Kent County Council (KCC) and so affect Dartford residents.
Cllr Kite said:“I see many other councils are putting tax up this year but I think we have a responsibility to help hard-pressed families.
“Labour may say this is hypocritical but I think it’s entirely reasonable for KCC to raise their council tax so they can retain their freedom pass, which provides heavily subsidised travel for children.
"We have frozen the council tax at Dartford.
“Also my role as leader at Dartford is very different to my role at KCC. And I’m not going to take any lessons from Labour as when they were last in control here they ramped up council tax by 10 per cent."
Labour: 'Tories say one thing while doing another'
Some Dartford Labour members have criticised Cllr’s Kite’s comments as Kent County Council voted to increase its share of Dartford by 1.99 per cent on February 14.
Dartford's Labour deputy leader Councillor Matt Bryant (pictured above) said “As usual, the Tories say one thing while doing another.
"They’re boasting about a government-subsidised council tax freeze on a small part of the bill – which we support - but voting for massive hikes elsewhere.
“The fact is, under the Tories, Council Tax bills for Dartford households are going up at a time when people are struggling to make ends meet. The least that the Conservatives could do is be honest about it.”
A Dartford Labour spokesman echoed Cllr Bryant and said: “This budget riddled with stunts, gimmicks and hypocrisy."
For more information, visit dartford.gov.uk/counciltax