Labour embarrassingly admits its flagship promise to freeze council tax won’t actually happen

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer travels by train to the launch of the Labour Party's campaign for the May local elections in Swindon, Wiltshire. A total of 230 local authorities are holding contests on May 4, ranging from small rural councils to some of the largest towns and cities. Picture date: Thursday March 30, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Labour. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

LABOUR was today embarrassingly forced to admit that its flagship pledge to freeze council tax won’t actually help anyone – or even happen.

To launch the party’s local elections campaign, Sir Keir Starmer vowed to save households £98 on average as part of a town hall tax freeze.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer travelled by train this morning to the launch of the Labour Party’s campaign for the May local elections in Swindon

Residents will be paying up to 15% more for their council tax

He said: “If there was a Labour Government, you could take that council tax rise you just got and rip it up.”

But Labour was forced to admit the halt would only go ahead if the party was in government NOW.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves refused to commit to freezing council tax if Labour wins next year’s general election, leading critics to slam the pledge as “pointless”.

Tory Chairman Greg Hands blasted Sir Keir for taking the public for fools.

He said: “Labour’s announcement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

“They have no plan to introduce this if elected. They’re taking the British people for fools.”

Mr Hands added: “If Labour were serious about cutting council tax Labour councils would be doing it now.”

“Instead across the country it’s Labour-run councils with higher council tax, Labour-run Wales where bills have quadrupled and Labour-run London where council tax has gone up 9.7 per cent.”

A Tory source said: “A pointless announcement from a party with no new ideas.

“Council tax doubled under the last Labour government, and it will double again if God forbid they ever get in.”

As hard-up Brits battle with the cost of living crisis, Brits face the highest tax burden since WWII.

Next month households up and down the country will be stung with council levy hikes of up to 15%, adding up to £295 to bills.

Town halls were given the green light in last year’s Autumn Statement to raise taxes by as much as 5% from April.

But some authorities have been allowed to hike bills even more than this – in some cases, by as much as 15%.

It comes as the Treasury decided to abolish the lifetime allowance on pension pots to help the country’s wealthiest.

Hitting back at claims of a pointless policy promise, a Labour source said: “Freezing council tax now is a choice a Labour government would be making in the middle of a cost of living crisis.

“I’m not sure people who will see their council tax rise by 5% this year would find it pointless for the government to listen to Labour’s call and freeze yet another Tory tax rise.”

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