TAXES from the borough council will not rise for Copeland residents in 2022, the mayor has said, claiming that it is the only authority to keep them consistently low.

Mayor of Copeland Mike Starkie has said that the borough council's share of council tax will remain at 1.95 per cent again this year.

It has remained at 1.95 per cent since 2016. The mayor said: "When I got elected six years ago I committed to keeping taxes low.

"When I took office I was already faced with a cut of £3 million a year in Government hand outs."

He said that Copeland Borough Council was also suffering from "a deficit of £13.2 million from the previous administration.

"Residents shouldn't have to pay for the errors of the past. We've committed to keeping taxes low and consistent. In real terms over the past six years, residents have seen a cut in council tax burden. We've cut no services whatsoever since 2015 and we've balanced the budget every year."

"The things that really matter to residents is how it effects them in their pockets."

Mr Starkie has maintained the position that Copeland concerning financial situation in a 39 page Government report are exaggerated while the Labour group has accused him of passing the book.

The Conservative mayor pointed out that the majority of councils in Cumbria are proposing increases over 2 per cent.

A document seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service reveals that Allerdale Borough Council's average council tax rise between 2016 and 2021 was 2.31 per cent.

Barrow Borough Council has seen an average rise of 2.08 per cent. Carlisle City Council has seen an average rise of 2.13 per cent in that time but the current leadership has proposed that it rises no further in 2022.

As the largest authority, Cumbria County Council had the largest council tax rise during that period: 3.99 per cent, including an adult social care precept.

The county council's finance boss and deputy leader, Peter Thornton said: "I don't think I want to take any lessons on finances from the Mayor of Copeland.

"They've got big issues which are well documented. The county council will be making a decision on the future financing of the two new authorities.

The Liberal Democrat councillor said: "Our legacy will be sound finances and I hope all the six district councils will be able to say the same.

"We're still talking about our council tax but it almost certainly will be below inflation, which is in effect a cut."

Eden District Council's leader Virginia Taylor said this week that her authority would not be raising council tax above the 2.6 per cent seen in 2021. South Lakes Council had the second largest average council tax increase between 2016 and 2021 at 2.53 per cent.

Each of the seven existing Cumbrian councils are soon to be reorganised into two new authorities: Cumberland Council in the west; Westmorland and Furness Council in the east.

In response to claims that Copeland is being bailed out of its financial position by the move, the Mayor of Copeland has previously pointed to council borrowing.

He said that Copeland Council has borrowed just £5 million as opposed to the county council's £386.75 million set to be reconciled by the two new councils.

But county council chiefs have pointed to the additional responsibility of health and social care.

Cllr Thornton said: "I think there's a degree of some of the district councils playing politics at the expense of the future financial integrity of the two new councils."