Magazine article Public Finance

English Councils Set to Impose Low Increases on Residents

Magazine article Public Finance

English Councils Set to Impose Low Increases on Residents

Article excerpt

Local authorities across England look set to impose a second successive historically low council tax increase.

One senior local government source has told Public Finance that this year's average increase could be lower than last year's figure of 3%, itself the smallest rise since 1994/95.

PF also understands that more councils than last year are opting to freeze rates.

They have been given an aboveinflation settlement of 4% from the Department for Communities and Local Government. But many are already hitting the brakes on their spending, anticipating a much tighter settlement in 2011/12.

Unison head of local government Heather Wakefield has attacked tax-cutting as 'a macho race to the bottom', arguing that councils 'are creating holes in their budgets that didn't need to be there'.

But her argument was refuted by Richard KeI I away, lead member for finance at the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, which is considering a 4% decrease in council tax.

'She doesn't take much account of the taxpayer, but that's not her responsibility,' he said. …

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