BARNET’S Labour Group has hit back at the deputy leader’s pledge to keep council tax down.

After being elected by his Conservative Group Councillor Daniel Thomas said: "I would like to thank them for their support in freezing Council Tax and balancing the books last year, and I pledge to involve as many Members as possible in improving services and keeping the Tax down in what are very challenging times ahead.”

But Labour’s Councillor Alan Schneiderman said: “It’s heartening that Daniel Thomas wants to focus on keeping council tax down, but he might like to turn his attention to actually collecting it.”

A report on Council Tax collection rates in London for the last financial year shows Barnet failed to collect over £8m of Council Tax, the second highest amount uncollected of all London boroughs.

He added: “They are busy closing libraries and children’s centres, so vital services are being axed because Barnet can’t collect from council tax dodgers.

“If they reduced the uncollected council tax to just the London average they would have £4.5m more and could stop the library and children centre closures – either they don’t care or they don’t know what they are doing.”