March 31, 2008 12:00 AM

The Cambridgeshire County Council's 5% council tax increase for 2008/9 is the highest amongst the 34 shire counties in England.

The table of high and low tax increase councils in the CEN last week shows the hypocrisy behind Tory claims to be a 'low tax party'. Of the 12 councils with the highest increases, 7 are Conservative led and 3 of these are in Cambridgeshire. By contrast, 4 of the councils with the lowest increases are Lib Dem run, including the absolute lowest, Liverpool.

David Jenkins, Lib Dem group leader commented:

"Behind these figures are high spending councils and I can only imagine how much money these Tory councils waste. Too often they seem to regard tax payers' money as their own with which to do what they like. And Cambridgeshire is as bad as the others

"Just look at one of its recent decisions. It decided to keep hold of the recent windfall of £500,000 and put it into reserves instead of returning it to the tax payers to whom it rightfully belongs.

"Lib Dems nationally and locally have made it clear that they would return tax payers' money when the government doesn't need it."

Cllr Nichola Harrison, Lib Dem Resources Spokesperson, added:

"Cambridgeshire has won the booby prize. But it's no joke. With food and fuel prices going through the roof, every extra penny on Council Tax is a real problem for people on lower incomes.

"The County Council receives an average amount of central government grant and there should be no need to impose the biggest tax increase in England."

Notes to Editors

1. The 5% was the maximum allowed by the government to avoid 'capping'. In their alternative budget proposals, the County's Liberal Democrat group proposed a lower increase of 4.8%, but this was voted down by the Conservative administration.

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