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 55.

    A question for those who claim Council Execs get "grossly over paid".

    Have you ever tried looking at their salaries as a ratio ofCouncil tunrover, then compared that to the private sector?

    The good people running our Councils (the staff, not the Cllrs) are by comparison with the private sector grossly UNDER paid.....

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Could anyone inform me as to where you can find a moral council in the UK, let alone a moral government. Like the United States we are on the road to total moral debasement as far as councils and governments are concerned.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    One key reason councils have to increase local income is the long-term cut in financial support, via Revenue Support Grant etc, drawn from central government tax incomes. This switches the burden increasingly to local CT payers.
    If central governent departments had matched councils' efficiency improvements over last 5-6 years, we'd be about £35b pa better off. Ask Gershon.
    Awkward things, facts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    How many of the experts on local finance pontificating on ths blog have actually ever looked closely at their local council spending. None would be my guess. But then a lot of people think any money not spent directly on them is wasted. My council spends money on women's refuges ... you should hear the experts down the pub complaining about that one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    SnoddersB, those who rent pay CT as well. Only difference is we are sometimes more mobile in where we live.

    Tim I agree should be times for lean councils. I would hazard a guess it is easier to scale down local problems than national programmes

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Moral duty - that's that then.
    What have morals got to do with Britain?

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    Comment ...
    All my life people have gone round in circles over local tax. Surely the only *fair* tax of any kind is based on the ability to pay, but this principle goes by the board when it comes to local tax, presumably to pay respect to 'local independence'. But because local wealth varies hugely across the UK, genuinely 'local' taxation is impossible, hence the balancing national oversight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    The councils con us into thinking that they can only cut useful services. They do this to make us angry at the Government.

    But what about everything else they spend money on? £25M a month was going through my local council, and you're telling me that all our useful services cost £25M a month. I'm sure once all the non jobs go, we could easily halve the tax.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    It reallly sickens me when I discover my local council spending MY hard earned money , especially in these hard times , on many hair brained schemes without any mandate fron the local electorate . Being spendthrift with my money should be illegal .

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    Councils have a moral duty to cut the profligate waste.

    Dignitaries, twinning, excessive administration, executive pay, over-generous pensions, plush town halls...

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    41. wressleturbine  1 MINUTE AGO

    said much more eloquently than this thatcher educated write off could ever say!

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Wow a referendum on council tax, I presume that it will only be house holders who will ne able to vote? as they do the paying.

    May be now we can have a referendum on the ammount that we pay to Brussels, same rule applies here as we are not consulted about the increase in tax taken by the Brussels dictatorship, or better still a referendum on membership of the EU would be even better.

  • 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.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    29 enfield40 ...4 years of tory rule is going to give us the highest unemployment levels since 1991, germany currently have lowest unemployment levels since 1991, so that says what?

    It says that whilst German's invested in industry and education focused on generating real revenue based jobs, Labour wasted billions inventing Public service jobs to keep the unions happy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Moral duty which most of them don't possess......ask Cramlington Town Council about their rise......a huge one compared to the 3.5% mentioned about more than doubling? And this is one controlled by Lib Dems too. Shameful extravagance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Councils just treat tax payers' money like toy town money - to them it's not real.

    If they waste it, who cares ? Nothing happens, no one gets the blame, no one has to worry about any responsibility.

    If a company wasted money like councils then heads would roll - but in council land it's like they are spending pretend money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Mr Pickles gets councils to do his dirty work by cutting services and then lectures them on their moral duty! Councils have a moral duty to protect services for the vulnerable and needy and if they have to increase council tax that's their choice. Councillors are elected and if the voters don't like what they do they can always vote them out. Politics isn't just about cutting taxes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Seems to me that the councils are squeezed in every direction, morally or not, but when you start cutting the funding from them there is only one outcome, the loss of more jobs or less services. Either way members of the public lose out!

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Just another story of primarily Labour Councils playing Politics by ensuring hardship for their own Residents - by charging them for MORE cash when they DON't have to. ANYTHING goes as long as it cons the Public into blaming the Goverment.

    Same old Labour...


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