Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Evening Gazette Opinion

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Evening Gazette Opinion

Article excerpt

The thankless tax-setting job: There are furious debates in several Teesside town halls this week at inflation-busting Council Tax increases.

Tory councillors in Middlesbrough have criticised an 8pc hike, whilst their counterparts in Stockton have hit out at a 7pc rise. Meanwhile, Redcar and Cleveland are today set to confirm an increase of 7.19pc, and although it's the first in four years this time a Labour councillor has dubbed it as a "public scandal".

Whatever the opposition says in each of these boroughs, one thing is clear from the similar rises in Council Tax that they are all setting: those running the councils feel the need for extra funds to continue providing crucial public services.

And this is where we would urge all critical councillors to ponder. If lower rises mean services have to be cut, and it were you who had to decide which should be the ones to suffer, how damning would your expressions of disapproval be?

Already authorities are having to consider their charges very carefully, juggling the need to maintain public services, absorb high increases from police and fire precepts and at the same time try to estimate at what level Government ministers might be tempted to wield their capping powers to hold down Council Tax increases. …

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