Despite pressure from the Department for Local Government, councils seem determined to increase the burden on taxpayers. According to research by the Local Government Chronicle, three quarters of county councils want to ratcheting up those bills.
Councils who want to raise their taxes by 2 per cent or more have to put the proposals to a referendum – they have to convince local people that they provide value for money and that the extra money is needed to improve local services. However, clearly not convinced that voters will buy it, so far, 43 per cent of councils are putting up bills by 1.99 per cent: the maximum they can charge without holding a referendum. From Dorset to Durham and Lambeth to Lancashire, rates are being hiked, but you don’t get a say.
It must be noticed that this 2 per cent cap only applies in England - many Welsh councils are set to raise bills by up to 5 per cent.
With pothole riddled roads and bin collections reduced, people simply do not believe that their councils provide value for money, but rather than reduce waste to improve services, they hike bills. Whether it is Pembrokeshire Council splashing £90,000 of your money on a Porsche for their Chief Executive or Camden Council allegedly spending £3.25 million on ‘gagging orders’ for departing employees, there is money to be saved in local government and they should be absolutely sure that they are spending every single penny efficiently before they raise taxes.