After the news of Surrey, Peterborough, Chelmsford and Aylesbury Vale there are reports of two more Conservative councils, Scarborough and East Cambridgeshire, planning Council Tax rises for 2012/13 – snubbing the offer of extra funding to pay for a freeze. This doesn't mean all six will go ahead with rises – they have to be vvoted through at full council meetings.
Scarborough, which is Conservative-led, it is an unelected Council Officer, Nicholas Edwards, who seems to call the shots. He proposes a 3% rise.
The response of councillors sounds rather passive.
Cllr Jane Kenyon, the portfolio holder for finance, said :
“It’s a very difficult decision for members but I hope they
will endorse this document.”
The Council leader Cllr Tom Fox said:
“It’s very important that we are very frank about this. The big issue for me is not just local politics but national politics as well.”
Both Cllr Kenyon and Cllr Fox are Conservative councillors.
East Cambridgeshire District Council plans a 2.95% rise. The leader Cllr Peter Moakes says:
“In an ideal world we would have preferred to freeze our council tax and take the offer from the Government, but we are concerned in doing so would mean having to make significant rises in future years to cover the holes in our budget.
“This small rise in council tax now really is in the best interest of both the council and residents.”
But there could only be "significant rises in future years" if they were passed in a referendum. We can see the game Cllr Moakes is playing. He wants to stagger the increases to avoid a referendum. Keep off the radar of accountability but still get away with fleecing the residents of more of their money. This is not a game Conservatives should play.