There are 326 local authorities in England and so far over 200 of them have agreed to freeze or cut the Council Tax. South Holland is now among those expected to announce a cut. Since the list was published the Evening Standard has reported that Westminster City Council will be bringing in a freeze.
One of the very few Conservative-led councils contemplating a rise is Scarborough. But they now show signs of pulling back. They had proposed a 3% rise but after consultation will now offer two options to councillors of a 2.5% rise or a freeze.
So this is all rather discouraging for Cllr Jason Kitcat, of the Green Party administration in Brighton and Hove. He is calling for a nationwide "rebellion" against the Council Tax freeze. Referendum dodgers throughout the land unite. It's actually looks a bit doubtful if he will even get the increase through his own council. The Argus says that the Labour as well as Conservative councillors back a freeze. Together there are 31 of them as opposed to the 23 Green Party councillors.
Meanwhile the Taxpayers Alliance have challenged Conservative-run Chelmsford Borough Council over plans for a Council Tax increase given that their residents have seen their Council Tax bills increase by 42% over the last 10 years.
The Chief Executive at Chelmsford Borough Council received total remuneration of £131,347 in 2010/2011. There were at least eight staff who received more than £100,000 at the authority in 2009/10. In 2010 as the council looked at ways to cut spending, the bill for staff earning over £50,000 increased dramatically from £1.5 million to £2.1 million (a 25% increase). Councillors' allowances at Chelmsford Borough Council cost taxpayers £307,000 in 2010-11.
Taxpayers paid (via employer contributions) £3,593,000 to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) at Chelmsford Borough Council in 2010-11, an increase of £1,150,000 from the previous year. While between 2008 and 2011 Chelmsford Borough Council spent £200,000 on its newspaper
Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
“The council have let people in Chelmsford down by imposing a big hike in Council Tax on residents, so many of whom are already struggle to pay. Over the last ten years there has already been a drastic increase in rates and, with so many other pressures on their finances, this is the last thing families in the area need. Chelmsford needs to follow the example of other local authorities who have shown it is possible to combine quality services with lower bills, and deliver much better value for money.”