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Dartford councillor reacts to "terrible news" on council tax hike

PUBLISHED: 14:55 12 January 2016 | UPDATED: 14:55 12 January 2016

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Kent County Council suffered substantial cuts in government funding

Dartford’s Labour leader Jonathon Hawkes has reacted to the “terrible news” that Kentish people face a four per cent council tax hike.

Kent County Council has proposed an increase in council tax in its draft budget, after suffering what it called a “substantial” cut in government funding.

The authority needs to find £126million, citing a £46million reduction in government funding, and an £80million spending increase to cope with growing demand for services.

Mr Hawkes responded to the proposal: “The 4 per cent hike in council tax from Kent County Council is terrible news for Dartford residents. The KCC portion of every Dartford resident’s council tax bill is 72p in every pound - that means this increase will have big impact on monthly bills in Dartford.

“Conservative controlled KCC are in this position because their own government is making huge cuts to local government finances. The Tory government is letting local government down and letting local people down by making these cuts.

“The government simply cannot slash the Kent County Council budget by £46 million and not expect it to have an impact on the services we all rely on.

“It just goes to show George Osborne doesn’t understand the impact his cuts will have on Dartford and other towns in Kent. Its ordinary council tax payers that are being made to foot the bill.”

KCC has already suffered 2,000 job losses over the past five years, and is set to make another 150 to cope with cuts.

Paul Carter, council leader at Kent County Council announced the proposal.

He said: “It is regrettable that we have proposed to put council tax up but we have no choice. It will, however, be essential if we are to maintain frontline services.

“Year on year it is getting harder and harder to deal with cuts in funding and increasing demands for services from a rising population, particularly the elderly, and the next few years are not looking any better.

“Another cut of £43 million in government funding is due in 2017/18.

“Without the extra money that a council tax increase will deliver, sustaining frontline services would be impossible.

“I hope people will see that the extra council tax we’re proposing is essential.”

The proposal comes following a consultation in which three quarters of those surveyed supported a council tax increase.

The proposals will go before the council on February 11.

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