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.