Dear Sir,

Cllr. Stead’s campaign to cut your council tax is a lie.

New candidates do turn up from time to time claiming this and they are always popular! But they are talking nonsense about things they do not understand. (Or do understand, but are happy to lie for the chance of a £13k allowance.)


About 15% of your ‘council tax’ bill does not go to the Council at all, it is the money you pay towards the Fire and Police services. Cllr. Stead will NOT be able to change that. Of the rest, slightly under three quarters goes towards funding the revenue services of Durham County Council (DCC).

Council services divide into two types, ‘statutory’ (services required by law), and ‘discretionary’ (services the council chooses to provide for the benefit of residents). After ten years of government cuts requiring savings of a quarter of a billion pounds a year by the County Council, almost all remaining DCC services are statutory (and cut to the bone). Because of this, DCC has little leeway to reduce its costs (and its Council Tax). Cllr. Stead will NOT be able to find any major savings at DCC.

Finally, the Town Council does provide some discretionary services, and these are included in the 11% of your overall council tax bill which goes to the Town Council. Therefore, as a Town Councillor, it is true Cllr. Stead might have some leeway to suggest some cuts there, which will reduce your council tax bill.


1. For all his boasts, and after three months on the Town Council, he sat in this year’s budget meeting and failed to come up with a single suggestion to reduce your council tax.

2. Don’t forget that every time the Town Council has suggested cutting one of its discretionary services (e.g. Santa Tours, Fireworks display) the opposition has whipped up an outcry to STOP it.

3. Even if Cllr. Stead gets the County Council’s Double Taxation grant restored, the cost of that will have to be added to the DCC element of your Council Tax bill, and Cllr. Clare has calculated that it would knock just 10p a week off the Town Council element of your bill.

Cllr. Stead’s campaign to reduce your council tax is a deception and a fraud upon your intelligence. We doubt Cllr. Stead has a clue HOW he intends to reduce your Council Tax Bill by any significant amount.

We challenge Cllr. Stead to come up with some costed suggestions, and to tell us how much they will reduce our council tax bill. We predict that it will boil down to dark (and untrue) mutterings about ‘efficiency’ and mythical ‘reserves’.

(And, PS: Cllr. Stead, don’t forget to run your suggestions past your LibDem masters before you comment. This year the only thing they suggested at Budget was to spend £½ million MORE!)

Sedgefield CLP Campaigns Team