Bolton only authority in Greater Manchester to reject government cash in favour of raising council tax
ALL nine of the other 10 Greater Manchester boroughs have accepted extra government cash so they can freeze council tax — which Bolton Council refused in favour of a 1.94 per cent rise.
Town hall bosses in Wigan, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, Manchester, Salford, Trafford, Tameside and Stockport opted to freeze rates by capitalising on the £550 million government fund.
Across the UK, 231 local authorities have taken up the offer from Whitehall, according to figures released on March 2.
Eight of the nine Greater Manchester councils to accept government help in imposing a freeze are Labour-run, with Trafford the exception.
Now, Cllr Andy Morgan, Conservative member for Hulton, has questioned whether the controlling Labour group had refused the help to avoid endorsing a coalition government policy.
Leader Cllr Cliff Morris said this was untrue, and that the freeze would have given “false hope” to people in Bolton.
Cllr Morgan said: “We have a £1.6 million surplus and yet rates are going up and we have turned down government help for two years running to freeze council tax.
“The Labour group keep going on about the cost of living crisis and yet they increase rates.
"It almost seems like they want to make it tougher for the people of Bolton and then blame it on government cuts. We don’t understand what other reason there could be.
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“Cllr Morris talks about the fund only being guaranteed for a couple of years, but why are the other authorities in Greater Manchester accepting it?”
Cllr Morris said his approach had protected Bolton ratepayers from £4 million worth of additional cuts.
He added: “If the government was truly serious about this they would have made the money part of our base budget so we can plan ahead for longer than two years.”
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