A year ago the Local Government Chronicle carried out a survey council finance directors and found that 80% said their councils would accept the offer of extra government’s funding in return for freezing or cutting the Council Tax. The survey was flawed – as it is not the bureaucrats who make the decision but the elected councillors who will then face the consequences. Democracy is a concept the LGC evidently has trouble grappling with. In the end 90% signed up.
However it is still a matter of concern that LGC survey this year (£) shows the figure has fallen to just 55% this year. The councils intending to increase Council Tax know that it is not what their residents wish – which is why they are planning to restrict the rise to the 2% limit above which a referendum would be triggered.
Councils threatening an increase include Conservative-run, Thanet, Canterbury and Reigate & Banstead as well as Labour-run Southampton City Council and City of York Council.
The LGC survey was anonymous but found that county councils, all Conservative run and facing elections next year, are much less likely to increase Council Tax than metropolitan authorities (which are mostly Labour) or the unitary authorities.