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 335.

    @331: Because you USE as many of the services as your neighbours. Bin collection, street lighting, policing, road maintainance, street cleaning...

  • rate this

    Comment number 334.

    #326 Robert W

    Rafts of them...reviewing strategies, evaluating current processes, and identifying improvement opportunities..surely better to recruit for sensible pay levels?

    #324 Anglerfish
    Thanks - suspected as much.

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    328. Monty McGrath ' town hall pensions ....Families now pay on average £400 per household, or 28% of there tax bill.'

    This misrepresentation deliberately ignores the fact that 75% of local authority income comes from sources other than council tax. The true figure as reflected by government audit of County Treasurers is around 5% (£65 a year for the average council taxpayer).

  • rate this

    Comment number 332.

    313. hazi820
    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?

    One of the biggest costs to councils is energy and fuel. Schools and offices need heated and lit. Council vehicles need petrol and diesel. Those costs have hardly stayed still.

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.

    Council tax should be paid by all tax payers, why should single occupiers only get a 25% discount when they live (as i do ) next to a household with 2 teachers and 1 police officer all of who earn at leat 10k more PA than i do! Who is being taken for a fool?

  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    @323 M J Wood.
    Fabulous! - without doubt, today's best fact-free, prejudice-enriched rant by a country mile.
    Keep 'em coming.
    PS...what is "PC correctness"?....when you say "vain schemes", do you mean "vanity projects"? Just asking.

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.

    The government know full well this countrys economy is broken beyond repair. They are offering tiny little bits of hope to keep the masses quiet.

    Once the recession really starts to kick in and it becomes blatantly obvious to the masses that we are heading into a depression, i dont think council tax will even be an issue.

    The UK national debt clock website tells you what you need to know.

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    Councils are very quick to point out that they need the extra cash to protect vital services. They do not seem so quick to tell us that in 2011 the cost to coucil tax payers of town hall pensions went up 3%. Families now pay on average £400 per household, or 28% of there tax bill.

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    #315 Andrew

    Ooh a sort of recurring Mansion Tax - sounds sensible - can't see Herr Pickles buying into though.

  • Comment number 326.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    Why do some posters think that just because someone has a more valuable or bigger house they should pay more council tax? Council tax is to pay for a small portion of the services councils provide. Why should a single pensioner household with an income of £10k per year pay more council tax than a five adult household that on £150k purely due to the size of the house they choose to live in?

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    316. Billythefirst
    'Our ct is12 x higher than France.'

    Two property taxes are paid in France, Taxe Foncière / Taxe d'Habitation. Taxe Fonciere is the highest but has an upper limit of around £14000 per year. Comparison are pointless though .. for example French schools aren't financed locally and most houses don't have a refuse collection. They take their rubbish to a central collection point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    Why does TIG blame this government - it has offered councils money to keep off putting up Council Tax. It is the councillors & senior officers who want to keep on their own vain schemes of agrandisement & PC correctness that causes the need for increased local tax. Let us go back to the days when councillors gave their time for the good of the community, not for huge payouts.

  • Comment number 322.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    My local council recently changed my house from the band D it has been in since being built 15 years ago to a band E. When asked why I was told they had made a mistake in the banding when they house was built. My neighbours house has 2 extra rooms downstairs and an extra bedroom upstairs and is the same band. Council tax now takes up a large portion of my income.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    I would like councils to stop blaming central Government for lack of funding and learn to manage what they have…..
    Whatever they say, we all know they waste our money with all sorts of fancy schemes and politically correct programmes.
    Oh, right, but without a breakdown of the expenses, this is just another of those fashionably correct statements that “sounds” right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    Personally, the local council have a moral duty to provide the services that we pay for. There has been a lot of waste within councils over the years but when you are having to make cuts in essential services that effect the young, old and disabled then the cuts have gone too far. My council tax is 15% of my gross take home pay but I use the services to I must pay.

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    There are many ways to save council tax money.

    But my local councilof Harrow is intent on wasting it on stupid things;

    street signs to say this is Harrow, they are everywhere

    fitness equipment installed in some parks

    plain white councils vehicles are no good, Harrow sprays them purple

    street sweepersand park maintanence have fancy new vehicles, broom and rakes are out

    the list goes on..

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    @308 CliveHamilton.
    Already happening - at least for local council spending. Central government seems less keen to follow suit.
    Suggest you check your council's website. In many cases, you will get the names to go with the top salaries.
    Much more transparent than your sainted private sector.
    You too can now be one of Cameron's and Pickles' army of armchair auditors.
    Bankers' bonuses next?

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    Our ct is12 x higher than France.

    Seems odd, given that public facilities in France are, in many respects, superior to our own.

    Do the French pay other taxes that we don't ?


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