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 155.

    Council tax should not exist at all, end of story. In fact, I'd be perfectly happy to simply contract out refuse collection, sewerage services etc. to the best bidders and do away with local councils altogether. What do they actually do? They create work for themselves by creating needless rules, regulations and bureaucracy that nobody would miss except those getting paid to enforce them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    I simply can't take Eric Pickles seriously. He habitually adopts a confrontational stance and never seeks solutions, he simply stirs up and clouds the issues. A thoroughly unprincipled individual but that's Tory politicians for you. No, I'm not a Labour or Lib Dem supporter before the predictable and nasty responses start.

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    133. JamesStGeorge  9 MINUTES AGO 72.Tig 

    So if the individual or the family cannot afford care (possibly after paying a lifetime of tax) what would your solution be.

    People in glasshouses

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    Moral obligation? Tell that to Nottingham city Council, who were embroiled in a council housing allocation scandal, lost over £40m in Icelandic banks , are the only council not to have published expenditure of amounts over £500 and have refused government money on some spurious grounds after setting their increase at just under 3.5% so that they don't need to hold a referendum on the increase.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    Councillors have a "moral duty" to sign up to the government's council tax freeze,
    it just goes to show that labour are pig headed and arrogant and have no place in today's running of the country as they are only concerned with their party ideals and not the welfare of all the people
    labour is an old fossil that needs resigning to the history books and the sooner the better

    peoples party Huh

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    The BBC are happy to claim a number of labour councils will increase council tax as though its almost all labour ones and then goes on to mention tory controlled ones would too as though its an exception typical tory pr from the BBC yet again.
    all councils have been increasing charges to the local population by removing things like free on street parking yet the BBC ignore such facts

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    Pickles has cloth ears thats why he is doing the job he is.Council tax is completely out of control and probably the most unfair tax since poll tax which taxed people for just being alive.The amounts being asked for and the service delivered simply dont match.Having hundreds of councils organising their own waste policy for example is hugely wasteful of money and the endless duplication is lunacy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    112.parlovero This is true but I reckon if our CEOs post was re-advertised at 50% of the current salary there would be plenty of suitable candidates and that the CEO himself would probably re apply for the job. In the current economic conditions there aren't many CEO's jobs up for grabs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    143. andyphd

    If that's really what's happening in your community, and you're all still paying your money quietly to the council, then your community deserves what it gets.

    Stop moaning,and make a stand.

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    17 rednag is factually incorrect. Local Government pensions are contributary and are paid out of a pension fund into which the employee and employer have contributed over the time of employment. Where do people get these ideas? Oh yes the gutter press!

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    Moral duty? It ill behoves a government that has cynically reduced the value of inflation linking of benefits and pensions, with the introduction of CPI on extremely flimsy pretexts whilst maintaining RPI for government bonds etc, to lecture others about moral values. I think you'd have to look very hard indeed to find any moral fibre in politicians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Perhaps we need to take a leaf out of the US book and require that the highest paid state official is the prime minister.

    Next, look again at whether a local income tax, capped at 3-4% might be a better way, so those on low incomes pay less but everyone is liable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    My council tax is equivalent to 28% income tax. I get a fortnightly rubbish collection, a policeman in a police station 30 minutes away (closing this year) and an A&E department an hour away (2 hours for an ambulance). Everything else from the council, such as roads and sports facilities, is paid for by other taxes or separate admission fees. That is already extortion. Any increase is insane.

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    I don't believe any council who say they can't find cuts. My take home pay is just over £1K a month on which I manage to live comfortably. I reckon I could live almost as comfortably on around £650 a month. It would mean cuts and bargain hunting etc, and I probably wouldn't enjoy it, but I could do it. If I can impose austerity on myself and still live reasonably, so can our councils.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    Our local councillors have voted to increase their allowances greatly over the next few years because they are lower than other councils in Surrey.
    Perhaps the rest of Surrey should reduce theirs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    Eric Pickles lecturing on "moral duty" somehow doesn't have an authentic chime, call me an old cynic but I can't recall him ever making what I would call a positive statement when talking about LA's. My personal view is that UK council tax is unrealistically high & what LA's contract to do is far too much. The equivalent tax in France is a fraction of the UK & most make provision for old age.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    One only needs to look at the high street to see the limited thinking of our councils. They need money (partly because they waste so much) so rather than become lean, or to think about 21st century needs and options, they simply raise taxes. Result? Many shops and businesses no longer able to afford their premises. At least 20% of my local taxes are needed to support pension schemes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    #133 – You don’t know that person’s own circumstances so leave it out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    "moral duty" . . . . . kettle black, Camron.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    Will this government tell companies like Vodaphone they have a 'moral duty' to pay what they owe or individuals like Sir Philip Green, who paid his wife a dividend of 1.2 BIllion pounds and because she lives in Monaco did not pay a single penny in tax, that they have a 'moral duty'.

    I think not. After all 'We're all in this together'......obviously not.


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