Karen Allen

I fought South Shields at the May 2010 General Election for the Conservatives, gaining a 6.4% swing which was a 4% vote increase. The Conservatives polled 7,886 up from 5,207 in 2005. I was born in the North East and grew up in South Shields. I currently live in London and am employed as a Director at Lloyd's Broker Howden International.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Conservative Council Tax Pledge

The new figures out this week revealed the soaring use of court orders and bailiffs to collect council tax are somewhat startling - but perhaps can be equated to the fact council tax bills have more than doubled across the country under Labour.

In South Tyneside bills have risen by a staggering 85% since 1997 thanks to Labour Ministers. Based on a band D property which would have paid £763 in 1997, but now pays (or not as the case of many) £1,410 annually. Bailiffs knocked at 5,513 homes in South Tyneside in 2008-2009 and 5 bankruptcy orders were obtained as a direct result of non payment of council tax.

We can look back to Whitehall guidance issued by John Prescott in 2004 which encouraged the use of bailiffs by town halls. It even recommends that in-house town hall bailiffs remove the official council branding from their bailiff demands. A preparation for the clunking fist perhaps?

Conservatives have pledged to work with councils to freeze council tax bills in England and provide additional central funding to keep bills down for the next two years. Scotland has already benefited from a council tax freeze, making bills almost £300 a year less on a comparable home north of the border. Labour Ministers have ruled out introducing such a policy in England. Good old, Jock Gordon - he shows yet again how out of touch he is with the plight of hard working families and pensioners. Thanks to Gordon Brown doubling council tax bills, a record number of families in South Shields and across the country are struggling to make ends meet. More people now face the threat of menacing bailiffs knocking at their door and this is a crisis of Labour’s own making.

Only a Conservative Government will work with South Tyneside Council to help fund a council tax freeze and bring real help to low and middle income families. Only Conservatives can deliver the change our country needs.

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