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Peterborough City Council, a unitary authority with a large Conservative majority, is proposing a Council Tax rise of 2.95%. This is despite the Government's offer of funding for a Council Tax freeze. The Council argues that without putting up Council Tax this year then a higher increase would be required the following year.

Implicit is that they would not expect to get such a rise approved by a referendum and so wish to stagger the rise – even though it means forcing their residents to pay more this year while turning down Government grant. There is a disingenuous reference to "capping" – but if they thought they could win a referendum for a Council Tax rise then they could hold one.

At present this is the only Conservative-led council understood to be planning a Council Tax increase (contrary to earlier reports Cumbria are not.) Yet the council finds money to bankroll the race relations industry and gives £54,000 to the Peterborough Race Equality Council. They pay 65p a mile for travel rather than the mileage rate of 40p a mile recommended by the HMRC. They spend £71,000 on three full time trade union reps and £171,000 on non statutory translation and interpretation services and plan to save £43,000 sacking lollipop ladies.

The number of children in care is high – at 76 per 10,000 children it compares to 59 per 10,000 children nationally.

The council says "at this stage the increase is a proposal only". I hope they reconsider.

13 comments for: Conservative council plans to spurn Council Tax freeze