Barrow's MP has hit back at criticism from the area's Labour Party who asked whether he will "stand up for Furness and oppose rises in council tax."

The comments came after news that Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer criticised the Government's decision that local authorities in England will be able to raise council tax by five per cent from April, with three per cent used to top up adult social care budgets.

Following on from their post on Facebook, Iain Mooney, Barrow and Furness constituency Labour Party communications and social media officer, said: "It's completely immoral that the financial burden of this Government's mistakes are being pushed onto working people and the most deprived communities once again.

"Last year saw a forced council tax rise to pay for more police and plug 20,000 staff cut under this government.

"It's disappointing that this responsibility has again been pushed into local councils, especially after years of facing cuts to vital services. Despite this, we will continue to support these services and our residents."

The Mail: Iain MooneyIain Mooney

In response, Simon Fell, MP for Barrow and Furness, said: "I won't take lessons from the Barrow Labour Party, especially after they took a £10,000 handout from Government meant for hard-hit businesses during the pandemic and then handed £5million back to Government rather than keeping it here in Furness.

"The Barrow Labour Party councillors running the Town Hall turned down the chance to freeze council tax rates in 2012 and have subsequently put them up time and again, with people in a Band D property now more than £400 out of pocket as a result.

"I'd suggest they step out of their glass house before throwing stones."

Mr Fell, recently spoke about the benefits of this rise to help give local authorities a financial boost after a crippling 2020 for councils, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Mail: ISSUE: Cllr Shaun BlezardISSUE: Cllr Shaun Blezard

Shaun Blezard, constituency Labour Party policy officer, said: "The Government could change its policy to get multi-national corporations to pay a fair tax that would fill these financial shortfalls, instead of pushing the cost onto our communities is questionable at best.

"It's time that our communities were supported by government instead of them operating a system of constant levelling down and not up."

This council tax rise led to a £20.4 million boost for South Lakeland District Council, Barrow Borough Council, and Cumbria County Council, a boost of 3.2 per cent this year of which the majority would go to Cumbria County Council.