The Sunday Telegraph reports that over a fifth of councils will be increasing the Council Tax this year. Those named include the Conservative-run councils North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Among the districts it mentions Selby.

It is most likely that all councils planning rises will keep them low – at two per cent or below – in order to avoiding requiring approval from their hard pressed residents via a referendum. They know what they are planning is against the wishes of their residents. It also makes little financial sense as it means they will miss out on extra funding available in central Government grant for those to avoid Council Tax rises.

These tax rises can only take place if voted through by Conservative councillors at full council meetings next month which set the budget. Before voting for them each Conservative councillor should consider if they were really elected to push up tax. They should reflect whether such rises can possibly be justified given the scale of inefficiency and wasteful spending which still exists in their local authorities and for which they are ultimately accountable.

Labour councils planning rises include Burnley and Northumberland. Nottinghamshire County Council plans a cynical 1.99 per cent Council Tax increase.

In London there is better news. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is cutting his Council Tax precept by 1.3 per cent. Hammersmith and Fulham is cutting Council Tax by three per cent. Conservative-run Barnet Council is bringing in a one per cent cut. Will any other London boroughs announce reductions? The elections on Thursday May 22nd should concentrate a few minds.