Tower Hamlets Council this year cut services and raised Council tax despite leaving over £4 million in business rates unclaimed in 2015.
A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Council showed that in 2015, £4,266,384.34 of business rates that were owed to the Council went unclaimed. Business rates are a tax on business properties and are the way that those who occupy non-domestic properties contribute to local services.
Elaine Bagshaw, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Campaigner for Poplar & Limehouse said:
“I’m staggered. It’s a sign of heartlessness and incompetence by Labour that, with so much money going unclaimed, they still cut services and increased taxes on local residents whilst giving themselves a pay rise.
According to the Council’s 2013 briefing, 46 per cent of our children are growing up in poverty. Yet the Council is making the burden of service provision fall on local residents, many of which are living below the poverty line. They should be concentrating on making sure businesses pay their fair share - as many are willing to.
Giving residents a worse service and increasing their financial burdens should be an absolute last resort. Labour could have collected the money owed to Tower Hamlets yet it just didn’t bother.
It’s time the Council prioritised getting its own house in order before increasing burdens on local residents.”
Notes to editor
The Council’s briefing on Child Poverty is available here:http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/Documents/Borough_statistics/Income_poverty_and_welfare/RB-Child-poverty-Briefing-Final-2013-07.pdf