Shockingly, Cornish councillors are urging a 6 per cent Council Tax rise next year! Five cross-party councillors have submitted this proposal to Cornwall Council. ‘A 6 per cent rise would cost people about £1.50 a week,’ says one of these councillors, ‘but it would bring in an extra £9m, so even if we have to pay £1m for a referendum, we’d still have a bit of a buffer to help ease the pain of cutbacks that would will need to be made. A referendum would be expensive, but democracy costs money.’
Yes, taxpayers’ money—and they may well say ‘no’ to the imposition. ‘It's not ideal,’ continues the councillor, ‘but many of us think it's better.’
Fortunately, other Cornish councillors disagree. ‘I think putting up council tax by 6 per cent would be a mistake,’ said one. ‘I think that it is too much and it would put an unfair burden on too many people in Cornwall who simply can't afford to pay it. I just simply don't believe the people have the appetite for this. They wouldn't vote for it, it is a costly exercise, and it would cost about £1m just to hold the referendum.’
Instead, other councillors are recommending a 1.97 per cent rise, just below the threshold that triggers a referendum. It seems Cornish taxpayers are being presented with the suggestion of 6 per cent increase and a referendum so that the smaller rise appears more reasonable and sensible. Sadly though, it’s still a rise at a time when family budgets are already under immense pressure.
Cornwall Council has frozen tax increases for the past three years and should continue to do so. The cross-party proposal will be discussed at the next full council meeting on 22 October.