Up to a fifth of councils in England may not accept the government’s offer to help pay for a freeze in council tax next year, a survey suggests.
Councils denying government money? Can this be true?
According to the Local Government Chronicle’s research, based on responses from 146 local authority finance directors, 116 said their councils would implement the freeze, six councils said they would refuse and 24 remained undecided.
It said many councils were concerned that if council tax was frozen next year, they may have to raise it abruptly the following year.
Ah! And so, they trumpet their desire to stick to their principles and soak the taxpayer on a much more even basis…
Brighton and Hove Council, run by the Green Party, has already decided it will increase council tax by 3.5% next year and has been criticised by the prime minister.
“It is a decision for individual councils,” David Cameron said at prime minister’s questions this week.
“If they want the money to go ahead with the council tax freeze, the money is there, but if they reject it, as they plan to in Brighton, that is a huge mistake, because the council will be asking families in Brighton to pay more at a time when it should be on their side.”
Truly, a ‘Gotcha!’ moment for iDave, there. You see, most people aren’t going to associate the freezing of their council tax this year with any subsequent rise the next year.
Despite the beliefs of the politicians (and hey, the Greens must reason that – since they voted them in – the voters are idiots anyway!) it just doesn’t work that way:
But Brighton councillor Jason Kitcat, the Greens’ cabinet member for finance, said the council tax freeze was a short term gimmick that would end up costing the council and taxpayers more in the long run.
Maybe, maybe not. Isn’t it possible that, instead of raising council tax year on year, the council could simply….do less?
Local Government Minister Bob Neill said: “Under Labour, council tax more than doubled, pushing typical bills to £120 a month.
“This government is helping freeze council tax for two years, as well as abolishing Labour’s plans for an expensive council tax revaluation which would force up bills.
“Town hall bureaucrats who want to hike the cost of living and shun the freeze are showing contempt for hard-working families and pensioners.”
Hard to disagree. Even when we see the contempt they themselves hold us in…