Taxpayers need a break, not a Councillor Kitcat

February 15, 2012 1:10 PM

Local authorities are currently finalising their budgets for next year. They are doing so with a Government offer of funds to freeze Council Tax for 2012-13. Disappointingly, many have already signalled their intentions to reject the offer and increase it. We’ll be highlighting ways for these councils to reduce their spending instead, as we did for Surrey County Council last week. Among those opting to clobber local residents with a tax hike is Brighton City Council. The cabinet member for finance and central services, Jason Kitcat, has proposed a  3.5 per cent rise in Brighton which will add an extra £30 to the Council Tax bills of the average household. For this, we awarded Councillor Kitcat our Pinhead of the Month award in November.

But astonishingly, not content with increasing the burden on his own residents, Councillor Kitcat has now urged all other councils to “join the rebel cause” and raise Council Tax instead of accepting the Government’s offer. Quite apart from heaping misery on his own residents, it is hard to imagine why Councillor Kitcat thinks he should dish out such ludicrous advice to other councils, many of whom have already actually accepted the Government’s offer. The latest figures available by DCLG show that out of the 354 authorities in England, 194 have chosen to freeze Council Tax and 7 have gone further and cut it.

A poll taken by the Argus newspaper shows that of 7,000 surveyed, a decisive 68 per cent backed a Council Tax freeze. Clearly Brighton taxpayers disagree with Councillor Kitcat, and it is unlikely that taxpayers in other local authorities will welcome his advice either. Councillor Kitcat is in a minority and in this thinly veiled attempt to bolster his corner he will hopefully fail: it now also looks likely that Labour and Conservative Councillors in Brighton will team up to defeat the proposed increase and opt instead for a freeze.

It is encouraging that so many councils have accepted the Governments offer to freeze Council Tax for the coming  financial year. While highly disappointing that not all have, it is disgusting that Councillor Kitcat is actually trying to encourage other councils to take even more money from taxpayers’ pockets. Others should look to tax-cutting councils like the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Hammersmith and Fulham, South Holland or Tendring for advice, and ignore the nonsense spouted by Councillor Kitcat.Local authorities are currently finalising their budgets for next year. They are doing so with a Government offer of funds to freeze Council Tax for 2012-13. Disappointingly, many have already signalled their intentions to reject the offer and increase it. We’ll be highlighting ways for these councils to reduce their spending instead, as we did for Surrey County Council last week. Among those opting to clobber local residents with a tax hike is Brighton City Council. The cabinet member for finance and central services, Jason Kitcat, has proposed a  3.5 per cent rise in Brighton which will add an extra £30 to the Council Tax bills of the average household. For this, we awarded Councillor Kitcat our Pinhead of the Month award in November.

But astonishingly, not content with increasing the burden on his own residents, Councillor Kitcat has now urged all other councils to “join the rebel cause” and raise Council Tax instead of accepting the Government’s offer. Quite apart from heaping misery on his own residents, it is hard to imagine why Councillor Kitcat thinks he should dish out such ludicrous advice to other councils, many of whom have already actually accepted the Government’s offer. The latest figures available by DCLG show that out of the 354 authorities in England, 194 have chosen to freeze Council Tax and 7 have gone further and cut it.

A poll taken by the Argus newspaper shows that of 7,000 surveyed, a decisive 68 per cent backed a Council Tax freeze. Clearly Brighton taxpayers disagree with Councillor Kitcat, and it is unlikely that taxpayers in other local authorities will welcome his advice either. Councillor Kitcat is in a minority and in this thinly veiled attempt to bolster his corner he will hopefully fail: it now also looks likely that Labour and Conservative Councillors in Brighton will team up to defeat the proposed increase and opt instead for a freeze.

It is encouraging that so many councils have accepted the Governments offer to freeze Council Tax for the coming  financial year. While highly disappointing that not all have, it is disgusting that Councillor Kitcat is actually trying to encourage other councils to take even more money from taxpayers’ pockets. Others should look to tax-cutting councils like the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Hammersmith and Fulham, South Holland or Tendring for advice, and ignore the nonsense spouted by Councillor Kitcat.

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