Council tax will be frozen for the sixth year running but the Tories have attacked Labour for failing to promise to keep it from rising in the next four years.

Ealing Council agreed to keep bills at April 2008 levels between 2015-16, and said it is committed to high levels of funding for the borough at the budget meeting on Tuesday night.

Finance Spokesman for the Conservatives, Councillor Mark Reen, said that Labour rejected their motion to freeze council tax for another four years and therefore the implication is that after next year, council tax will rise if Labour stay in power

Mr Reen said: “If we get elected we promise we will freeze council tax for another four years.

“The council are effectively having a year off – this budget in financial terms has no impact.

“What they have done is saved all the problems up for the next two years. There’s no ‘cuts’ story this year, it’s a ‘political do nothing’ budget.”

Leader of the council, Julian Bell, said: “What we have said is what we said in 2010 which is that we will freeze council tax for next year and keep it as low as possible thereafter.

“Our aspiration will be to freeze it for the next four years however the Tories are trying to bribe the electorate by making promises that I’m not sure they can keep”

“We want to be responsible and prudent. We are not ruling out freezing council tax for four years but we think it’s wise to wait a while and not make promises we might not be able to keep – and it would be irresponsible without knowing the exact financial position going forward.”

Leader of Ealing Council Councillor Julian Bell
 

Mr Bell said they have made £87 million of cuts during the last four years, with a similar amount coming in the next four years.

He added: “I don’t know how the Conservatives think they can plan that far ahead, unless they’ve got secret plans to slash services in order to do this.”

Liberal Democrat financial spokesperson, Councillor Andrew Steed, said: “I am constantly told that people are sick of having to pay the garden tax.

“Only the Liberal Democrats put forward proposals to ensure the council spend more on maintaining our roads and pavements.

“Both the Tories and Labour party voted against this.”

At the budget meeting the council promised to invest millions into services.

Included in the plans is £93.5m to be spent on creating 3,570 additional primary school places by April 2018, £37m on special education expansion and £1m towards additional part-time nursery places for disadvantaged two year olds.

Sports facilities will also benefit, with more than £1m in total going into improving Ealing Central Sports Ground, Perivale Park and Gunnersbury Park and £100,000 being set aside to develop Hanwell Bunny Park’s animal centre enclosures.

About £1.2m will go into renewing roads and pavements next year, and £17.6m will go into housing upgrades.