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 75.

    How bout morality of politicians - They managed to increase the amount they pay themselves by ridiculous levels then the majority of them had the cheek to leech the public purse further by claiming unorthodox expenses.... Or are we as the electorate supposed to forget all about that! Shame on all politicians - Morality.. Im shocked a Politician can even bring himself to mention the word!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    Absolutely correct.
    It is immoral to collect taxes locally and on any house basis. Almost all of it is from national tax anyway. Some areas are wealthier than others which makes local tax unfair from the start. Fund it all centrally from general mix of taxes. They have all the protections for the poor in place. Get rid of a raft of local tax collectors, who are totally unnecessary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    This comes from a Con!.Cons have never had any morals or scruples when it comes to money and how they can make even bigger savings to go into THEIR bank accounts.This comes from Cons who were NOT going to touch the police,schools or the N.H.S when they were trying to get into power.This comes from the Dems who were NOT going to put up tuition fees under any circumstances.Morals,what a laugh.

  • 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 71.

    44. enfield40  JUST NOW 41. wressleturbine  1 MINUTE AGO

    so when are the tories going to start this real investment in education and real jobs?

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    mr pickles is what is known as a fat cat, some might think rat a more appropriat title.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    The last person to be preaching to others about morality is Eric Pickles, a member of perhaps the most immoral government in living history. As Alan Suger said, "(Eric Pickles is) another pointless politician doing yet another menial administrative job that could be done by anyone that has been educated in any vague sort of half coherent English".

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    Local Councils are in a difficult position in respect of finance.
    An example of this is the Highways.
    Highways related TAX goes to Central Government, but COSTS are loaded onto Local Government.

    Suggestion. A National Highways Agency charged with the provision and maintenance of Roads, Car Parks, Pavements etc. Financed by ring fenced Vehicle and Vehicle Fuel TAX.

    Hopefully good for Councils

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    SAVE MONEY scrap councillors what use are they really a council has a chief and lots of indians who needs people to talk about what the council does and claim expenses for it those who cry democracy ask when do councillors listen to the electorate ELECTION TIME kick them out NOW

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    This is not a moral duty question, the question should be who do the Local and National Governments work for. It does like they are working for their staff and the people they represent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Levy it at source on individuals' incomes & set at 10%, with those on anything from zero to £20,000 exempt. Local councils should be limited as to what areas of expenditure it can used for. My local council spent hundreds of thousands on pavement fountains, in an area where poverty is rife. There should be no expenses for councillors & certainly no fact finding trips overseas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    You are wrong Mr Pickles.

    The 'kick in the teeth' comes from the fraud perpetrated by private corporations and the following collusion and bail-outs from our government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Ah, so we've had bash the public sector workers, benefit claimants, teachers, disabled etc etc etc, now it's the turn of the councils. I can't believe that the majority of people are still falling for this Tory divide and rule tosh! Wake up and smell the coffee, the rich are making fools of us all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    If you unhappy at what your local council is doing, instead of complaining on here why not write to them and let them know.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    Suggestion ...
    We are stuck with local taxes (to protect the fiction of 'local independence') but they should be collected on a fair basis according to income, pooled nationally, and redistributed fairly according to agreed criteria via a permanent royal commission. That way we keep politicians away from the cash, get fair collection according to income, and approach national equity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Mr Pickles has a moral duty to protect the services the most vulnerable need. By freezing council tax, people pay more anyway. More people lose their jobs that leads to less services that leads to having to pay more to private companies. Also, the people who have lost their jobs go on benefits that leave the tax payers paying more.

    Its not rocket science!

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    It annoys me that Local Government politicians are avoiding difficult decisions re service cuts due to avoid a bad reaction in elections. As a result they are balancing the books by cutting down staff terms and conditions and freezing pay. Indirectly all staff are paying to support the ruling political party.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    29. enfield40

    Labour employed people for fun in the public sector, created large numbers of managers and paid them too highly. In simple terms productivity went down. This was paid for by council tax payers.

    A shake out of staff was overdue.

    I don't suppose you work for the public sector do you ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Who should be charged council tax and who should not be charged council tax? I have been hearing of people who now being charged council tax when they didn't have to pay it before. What are the exact rules?

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Sadly the political class have no morals. If they did there would be no house based tax in the first place. Assets, houses among them, have no income to pay any tax at all. Cable yet again promoting a 'mansion' tax he clearly has no morals at all.

    Let alone the immoral permitting of migration flooding us with an unsustainable population taking our jobs, consigning vast numbers onto benefits.


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