The Lib Dems have published a manifesto for Lambeth that is a tax-hikers charter and yet, bizarrely, offers almost nothing new for local people.
Lib Dem spending plans would require a massive 30% leap in council tax – costing the average household an extra £1500 in Lib Dem taxes. That level of increase is entirely in line with the 40% increase the Lib Dems imposed last time they ran Lambeth between 2002-6. They drove that tax rise through despite an election pledge not to impose any increases without a referendum – a promise they simply ignored. The tax-addicted councillor who oversaw the tax-hike policy is now the Lib Dem leader, Cllr Ashley Lumsden and he appears determined to continue where he left off, after voters threw his party out of power.
Apart from the tax hiking plans, the Lib Dem manifesto is bizarrely empty of new ideas. It has nothing to say about a long list of key concerns for local people. The Lib Dems say nothing about how they would pay for road resurfacing or repair potholes, nothing on how they would tackle anti-social behaviour, and nothing on key proposals for new leisure centres in Clapham, Streatham, West Norwood, Kennington and Waterloo. Labour has detailed what we would do and how we would pay for it in all these areas.
Labour’s leader Cllr Steve Reed said: “The Lib Dem manifesto is an empty box with a huge price tag attached. Local people will be walloped with a massive 30% Lib Dem council tax rise straight after the election, but will have almost nothing to show for the extra £1500 that will cost the average household. That represents a big step backward from Labour’s two year council tax freeze at the same time as delivering better services. The Lib Dem manifesto must surely be the most bizarre set of proposals ever put before Lambeth’s voters and I have little doubt it will be rejected out of hand.”