What do we get?

With the financial crisis in Hackney looking worse than it first appeared, we now get news that council tax is set to rise by up to 10%. Reports in last week’s Hackney Gazette put the council’s projected debt for next year at £76 million, much greater than the £22 million shortfall this year and the rise in council tax seems to be a direct result of this.

Of course, people should pay towards local services if they can afford them, but what exactly do we get ? The benefits service was disastrously farmed out to ITNet (who are still running it), the education service looks like going the same way and rubbish collection has now also gone over to a private contractor. If local people were actually getting a decent service there would be far less resentment.

In the leters page of the Hackney Gazette, the issue of withholding council tax has been raised. This is a possible tactic in the future but the idea should be discussed in tenant associations and community groups first.