A MAYOR has accused the Coalition Government of being "dishonourable" and "financially irresponsible" in the way it is dealing with a North-East town.
At a council meeting held on Wednesday (January 9), Middlesbrough mayor Ray Mallon attacked the Government’s offer of a grant to freeze council tax in the area for a year.
He said: “I do believe there is evidence to suggest that the council tax freeze grant is a cynical attempt to erode the financial base of councils, as they wish to see the councils of today become a thing of the past. The Coalition Government is disingenuous where this subject is concerned and its intentions are dishonourable to say the least.”
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Mr Mallon said he was considering rejecting the “financially irresponsible” offer and that a two per cent rise in council tax remained a possibility.
He said: “On the face of it, the Government’s offer of a £518,000 grant to freeze our council tax for the coming year appears to be an attractive proposition.
“However, any short-term gain would be obliterated by the significant medium- to long-term impact on our future finances.
“It is financially illogical to say the least. To say that I am extremely disappointed at the Government’s stance on this subject would be an understatement, as it appears to be designed to appeal to the purses of the public and to curry favour with the voters.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the Government is fully aware of the ramifications to a town such as Middlesbrough, if this council accepted its offer. I believe the proposition is financially irresponsible, as it creates further financial vulnerability in an already unstable financial climate.”
At the meeting, Mr Mallon also accused civil servants and ministers of being “incompetent” and “morally fraudulent”, saying that the Coalition Government’s programme of public sector cuts would have a devastating effect on Middlesbrough, which will suffer from services being withdrawn and hundreds of jobs being lost as a result of having to achieve savings estimated at more than £72m over five years.