INDEX July 18, 1987
Party loyalty and 62pc rate rise

Three Labour councillors said they voted for a 62 per cent rate rise because of allegiance to their party.

The councillors, from the London Borough of Waltham Forest described in the High Court how they put party loyalty before their personal feelings about what was best for ratepayers and voted for the rate rise they had individually opposed.

Councillor Jo Brind, wearing a pink rose in his lapel, told the court yesterday that he regarded the rate system as "a regressive tax against the principles for which the Labour Party stands."

But party unity came first, and in March he voted for the increase, which sparked off town hall demonstrations by thousands of ratepayers.

Two other councillors, Vi Smith and Jeffrey Miles, agreed that party unity was paramount and had also led them to the same decision.

All three were giving evidence on the fifth day of an application by the Waltham Forest Ratepayers' Action Group for court orders quashing what they condemned as an "irrationally high" rate.

Councillor Miles was asked by Lord Justice Glidewell, sitting with Mr Justice Schiemann, why he thought unity was important.

He said: "Without unity-- you may think I am exaggerating-- local government would descend into a chaotic situation and detract from effective and strong local government."

The hearing continues on Monday.

Wolverhmapton Expres & Star July 18, 1987.
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