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
    +1

    Comment number 315.

    The problem is that there is a "top" level of Council Tax that tends to concentrate the tax take in the lower income groups. There is no good reason why there should not be a revaluation of properties that adds as many extra bands as are needed to include the mansions of the mega-rich as well as the bedsits of the poor. This would help to plug the finance gap

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 314.

    I live in Brighton and the new Green administration have rightly refused this bribe from Pickles. Anyone who thinks the council tax 'freeze' is a free gift from National Govt is deluded - something the residents of towns that have taken it will find out in a couple of years time.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 313.

    It's interesting that Councils are wanting to increase the tax again, but all the staff have a tax freeze, so where is the extra money going to? It seems at the moment many organisations are happy to have inflation busting increases, but the people that pay it aren't having any extra money coming in. Councils need to set an example in line with what the Government have said.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 312.

    The government are very happy you are reading this article given to you by their best friends the bbc.

    Please do not go and read real news stories as they do not want you thinking for yourself.

    Go and look at the US debt clock and then click world debt clocks and see how the UK compares to other broken countrys.

    Ask your PM what you should be doing to prepare for the coming recession/depression

  • Comment number 311.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 310.

    308.Clive Hamilton - the vast amjority of that information is already in the publc domain, for those who look for it......

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 309.

    A moral duty? Eric Pickles has a history of damaging local services. Councillors all over the Tory Shires are giving their non statutory services, with valuable assets, to private companies to cut the Council tax bills.Time the true moral majority declared, clearly: while no-one likes paying taxes - the alternative is a return to the filthy streets and every man for himself mentality of the past!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 308.

    In my opionion there needs to be greater transparency of ALL public spending, both locally and at a national level.

    Only when we the public actually know where all the money is going can we then decide on what the priorites are.

    Staffing is almost certainly the highest cost, followed by pension payments.

    I'd like to see saleries (not names) published for locals to see.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 307.

    Even though the goverment has stated a freeze in council tax, local levels of council, i.e. Town and Parish Councils will not receive the subsidy from the government which allows the bigger local authorities to freeze. This will lead to tow and parish councils looking to raise their amount of the council tax. Also remember that council tax is made up not just of councils money.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 306.

    I don't see why any council would take notice of anything the discredited Eric Pickles has to say. I had the misfortune to live in Bradford when he was Lord Mayor there- he was an incompetent hypocrite and liar then and I doubt anything has changed.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 305.

    301Christine Melsom-"One councils threatening to raise council tax, receives £739per head in Government grant and are daily increasing the amount of money in their reserves. They then complaini about the cuts they have to make.."

    They have to keep some reserves for contingency planning, the heavy snowfall\grit problem, flooding etc?

    We moaned about Gordon Brown not saving for a rainy day

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 304.

    Council pay inflation started like so much did, under the tories, and continued under labour. PFI - to keep the spending off the balance books - tory and then labour - now tory again. Tax rises on everything but income tax - tory then labour.
    Intellectual dishonsty from both sides

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 303.

    In 1996,my Council tax was £135 per month (over 10 months). A decade later, it was £206 per month and now, it is £239 per month; an average annual increase of about £7 per month. Not too bad you might think until you read the reports of council waste and 'Non-job' creation, together with salaries for their higher executives greater than that of the Prime Minister.

  • rate this
    -5

    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
    +2

    Comment number 301.

    One councils threatening to raise council tax, receives £739per head in Government grant and are daily increasing the amount of money in their reserves. They then complaini about the cuts they have to make. I would be quite happy to pay council tax for my property as in Manchester, As it is I pay twice as much.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 300.

    When I was working, council tax was a minor issue. Now I am retired it is a major problem. The trouble is that my income is significantly less but the council tax is the same. I still consider a local income tax the bext answer. That way all pay and we can stop a two bed retirement bungalow paying the same rates as a three bed house! And yes, I have checked.

  • Comment number 299.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 298.

    As an example of waste, look no further than grass verges and flowerbeds tended by gardeners paid by our councils.

    How many of us can afford professional gardeners? Not many, yet we all have to pay gardeners to pretty up public spaces, especially outside town halls!

    Why?

    It's conspicuous waste which we pay for. It should be stopped.

    If this waste were stopped, council tax would fall.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 297.

    The problem isn't council tax! The average wage has fallen whilst the rich become super rich. Costs have risen, the council has a duty of care to provide services. The rich increase their income by 4,000% whilst the average wage increased by 100%. The average wage in UK is £25k down from £28k a year ago, whilst in Australia it's £40k and continues to rise. The Greedy & Powerful are the problem

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 296.

    Pickles has a cheek bringing morality into it when it is government cuts that are forcing local authorities to look for other ways of funding essential services.

    This isn't a case of cutting waste to make savings. LAs are already cut to the bone. If I have to pay more to protect services, so be it, but please protect those who can't pay.

    Someone has got to invest in the future. Cameron won't.

 

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