- 8 updates
Cambridgeshire is planning to increase council tax by 1.99%, which would avoid a local vote by a slither. The coalition has been urging local authorities to freeze the levy again this year, insisting a public vote should be held to approve any increase above 2%.
Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports:
The Local Government Chronicle (LGC) has supplied ITV News with its latest projections for local authorities' approach to council tax in the wake of Eric Pickles' funding attack, supporting predictions that a number look set to defy the Government.
The LGC said budget assumptions and funding proposals allow it to predict the council tax intentions of 74 councils, with the remainder of the 351 English councils still unknown. It said:
- 26 authorities are considering an increase of between 1.6% and 4.4%, though the majority will raise tax to 1.9%, keeping them narrowly within the Government's planned referendum threshold.
- Two authorities, Hammersmith & Fulham LBC and South Holland District Council, plan to cut council tax. (Last year saw 35 councils opt for a cut by the decision deadline.)
- 46 authorities look set to obey Government calls and freeze council tax.
Mr Pickles, meanwhile, has said the Coalition is aware of 115 councils who have confirmed they will opt to freeze.
Asked about Eric Pickles' accusation that English councils are "cheating" the taxpayer with planned rises in council tax, David Cameron's official spokesman said:
Labour MP for Gateshead, Ian Mearns, has criticised Eric Pickles' accusation that English councils who raise a "stealth tax" by 1.99% in a bid to avoid the Government's 2% referendum threshold are "democracy dodgers".
In his article in The Daily Telegraph, Pickles warned "anybody using loop holes will lose out next year".
After his party colleague Jack Dromey condemned Mr Pickles' claims, Mr Mearns added:
Eric Pickles has said just under a third of English councils have committed to a national council tax freeze.
"Already we know of 115 (out of 351) can do councils who will freeze council tax for a third year from Derby to Dorset, Northampton to Norfolk and Wolverhampton to Worcester," he said.
The Daily Telegraph said the figure compared with 99% in 2011 and 85% last year.
English councils are "cheating their taxpayers" by increasing local taxes in defiance of a national council tax freeze, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has said.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Pickles pledged to introduce new laws to force councils looking to increase council tax above a threshold of 2% to put their proposed rises to a referendum.
He said the councils were currently "treating residents with contempt” by avoiding the Government's calls for restraint in local taxation.
Mr Pickles added that "those who put up their stealth tax by 1.99% in a bid to avoid our 2% referendum threshold need a reality check”.