Last year I was very vocal in my opposition to plans from Stockton-on-Tees Council to invest in a Hilton hotel. At a time when local residents were been faced with simultaneous Council Tax rises and cuts to key services I felt the the mere idea of investing in a luxury hotel was absurd. However, in the end the Council ignored all of those who opposed this plan and invested in Hilton anyway.
Imagine my surprise last week when I learned that the Council which was more than happy to invest huge amounts of money in a hotel had decided to raise Council Tax by 6% – the highest rise of any Teesside council.
When many people are struggling to simply make ends meet and evermore people are relying on foodbanks to feed their families, how can any local Councillor look their constituents in the eye and defend Council policies which prioritise investing in a billion dollar hotel company over providing frontline services for local residents?
Council Tax appears to be on the rise all across the North East, but I am sure that your readers will agree that this decision by Stockton-on-Tees Council was particularly egregious.
Jonathan Arnott MEP