Northamptonshire County Council: Five per cent council tax rise considered

One Angel Square, Northamptonshire County Council HQ
Image caption The council will be scrapped in 2020 - along with seven other borough and district councils - to make way for two new unitary authorities

A cash-strapped local authority says it could put its tax up by 5%.

Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) is already proposing a council tax rate rise of 2.99%, but the government says it will allow a further increase.

Councils are not usually allowed a rise of more than 3% without triggering a local referendum.

But James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Local Government, has given permission to NCC to make the increase to aid its financial difficulties.

The move has been welcomed by the Conservative-controlled council's leader Matt Golby, who said that the amount of the rise would be decided by the authority's cabinet in February.

Image caption Councils are not usually allowed a rise of more than 3% without triggering a local referendum

But the leader of the council's Liberal Democrats group was critical of the announcement.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Chris Stanbra said: "The whole fiasco could now mean a substantial tax increase for local taxpayers.

"It gives lie to the line that Conservatives often use that they are good at managing our money."

Paul Crofts, a member of campaign group Save Northants Services, said the situation in Northamptonshire was "lurching from one disaster to the next".

He said: "Local taxpayers are paying time and time again for the problems at Northamptonshire County Council.

"It is time for the Government to return some of the money it has taken away from the county in recent years."

Tuesday's announcement follows the government's decision to allow the troubled local authority to use £70m of capital receipts - largely gained from the sale of its Northampton headquarters One Angel Square - to pay off last year's £35m financial deficit.

The county council's latest finance reports state that the authority is predicting an overspend of £11m in the 2018-19 financial year.

The council will be scrapped in 2020, along with seven other Northamptonshire borough and district councils, to make way for two new unitary authorities.

Read more about Northamptonshire County Council's cash crisis

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