Plenty of Labour councils claiming they have "no alternative" to Council Tax increase despite the offer of Government funding to finance a Council Tax freeze.
Here are some examples of councils planning Council Tax rises for 2012/13 and and their misguided priorities when it comes to spending their residents money.
£1.5 million paid to suspended staff. Leicester City Council paid out the most of all Midlands councils in salaries to suspended staff, at almost £1.5 million for a total of 107 incidents since 2009. This is the equivalent to 16,000 working days.
Every resident shelling out £84 for top-paid council staff. New research this week shows that Leicester spent £83.61 per head of local population on employees earning £50,000 or more, the second highest in the Midlands.
Excessive senior pay. Nottingham paid 11 directors over £100,000 in 2010.
£5,000 on a Christmas tree. Nottingham splurged £4,450 of taxpayers’ money on a Christmas tree for its headquarters building in 2010. According to the Nottingham Post the 2010 tree was rented for just 35 days, meaning it cost nearly £143 per day.
£17,000 on international flights in two years. A report published by the Taxpayers Alliance shows Nottingham City Council spent £13,324 on flights in 2009-10 and £4,067 in 2010-11.
Local residents denied weekly bin collections. In addition to the threat of not freezing council tax, Gateshead Council has also scrapped weekly bin collections.
£400,000 spent on incinerator consultants. Council chiefs in York spent more than £400,000 on consultants over a controversial waste incinerator last year.
Taxpayer-funded union posts. Two council planning officers were recently moved on to full-time trade union duties.
Council tax arrears same as budget cuts. The amount of uncollected council tax in Stoke-on-Trent is equal to the amount the authority is reducing in its budget next year. Council tax arrears stand at £20.1 million while the council is expecting to make £20 million of savings next year. In 2010, the Labour-run council was the worst in the West Midlands region for collecting council tax.
Every resident shelling out £100 for top-paid council staff. New research shows that Stoke spent £99.41 per head of local population on employees earning £50,000 or more, the highest in the Midlands
Extravagant chief executive’s office. The chief executive’s department spent over £1.3 million in fields ranging from catering to phone bills.
Council head paid more than the PM. Ian Parker, the chief executive of Middlesbrough’s town council and the man responsible for managing its £136 million budget, made £155,644 in 2009-10 – more than Prime Minister, and exceeding the average pay of £147,000 for council heads nationwide, even though this council is one of Britain’s poorest.
Capital expenditure more than tax and grants. During each of the last five years their capital expenditure targets were collectively some £31 million above their known tax and grants income.
Redcar & Cleveland:
Enormous payout for brief service. The Council paid a £92,955 settlement to the former assistant chief executive Richard Fryer, who worked at the council for just two years.