In England the council tax has generally been frozen since 2010. There has been the carrot of extra funds for those that that freeze (or cut) the council tax. Also the stick of a requirement for a referendum if any increase above a modest level (two per cent in the current year.)
The Labour-run Welsh Government has a different approach. They have actively encouraged councils to hike up council tax and charges.
This is a policy they are persisting with. This statement from Leighton Andrews AM of the “Provisional Local Government Settlement 2015-16” shows they are again refusing to offer a council tax freeze. The Welsh Government could offer it – through Barnett consequential funding. But Labour have chosen to punish Welsh council taxpayers.
Mr Andrews says:
‘”When drawing up budget plans for 2015-16, I expect Local Authorities to take account of all their income streams such as council tax and income from fees and charges… We offer considerable flexibility to Authorities in Wales which is not available to their counterparts in England, where restrictive freezes apply.”
English council taxpayers don’t yet know what a Labour Government next year would mean for their bills. But there is a pretty good clue in Labour’s opposition to council tax freeze in England. The Welsh Government’s refusal to follow the same course offers another rather useful clue.
We have been warned.