Councils have 'moral duty' on tax - Eric Pickles

Council tax bill Some councils have announced they plan to defy the government's desire for a council tax freeze

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Councillors have a "moral duty" to sign up to the government's council tax freeze, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said.

Some local authorities in England have said they will increase council tax and reject money from central government.

Mr Pickles said council tax rises were a "kick in the teeth for hard-working, decent taxpayers".

Many of the councils planning increases say it is the only way they can protect services in light of government cuts.

Government figures indicate that 142 councils in England have so far promised to freeze bills this year.

Money has been offered both last year and this year to local authorities promising to freeze council tax, although the government cannot force them to do so.

Significant rebellion

Last year's freeze was observed by all councils.

But BBC local government correspondent Mike Sergeant says this year there is a small but significant rebellion under way.

A number of Labour-controlled authorities, including Leicester, Nottingham, Darlington and Stoke-on-Trent, are planning increases of up to 3.5% from April.

Conservative-led Surrey, Chelmsford and Peterborough have also announced plans for a rise in recent weeks.

Last month, Mr Pickles said any local authority in England wanting to raise council tax by more than 3.5% this year must consult the public in a referendum.

Councils seeking to raise bills in tough economic times needed a "direct democratic mandate" to do so, he said.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    How about the Government introduces more and higher bands on Council tax?? OK it wouldn't produce too much more revenue but the majority of people living in larger houses can pay more.

    At the same time review the structure and saleries of ALL council staff earning more than £40K because after 13 years of Labour uncontrolled spending and Civil service pay rises, something has to change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    My council tax is 11% of my take home pay, it has become an absolute struggle to pay it. The inflation busting increases imposed by councils over the Labour years has taken this tax to unsustainable levels. Otherwise ordinary honest hard working people are now being made criminals for failing to keep up their payments, with the councils quick to send in the bailiffs to recover debts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    The unfairest tax of all. It should be related to income and every worker should pay it. The poll tax was much fairer but its opponents won the war to the detriment of many. My local authority have announced a rise, which I think is unacceptable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    I've just found out that my elderly mother's council are planning to stop the contract to deliver meals on wheels to her 'very sheltered' housing complex.
    Last year, within the freeze, they stopped the subsidy - causing a large hike in prices. Now nothing.
    Moral duty?
    She was born in WW1, worked through WW2 supporting her country. But apparently this government has no moral duty to her.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    Considering the number of public sector workers loosing theie jobs council tax should be going down. This is an unfair tax that has risen far too fast and is a real burden to households. Lean local government is where we should be going in these times of austerity are we not all in this together. Perhaps a freeze in this tax for a decade should be considered.


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