Tory MPs blast Government over major council tax hike

Posted On: 
20th December 2017

Council tax bills are set to soar by £100 on average after ministers handed town halls the power to hike rates further without asking the public.

Some authorities could hike council tax by 6%
PA Images

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said local authorities could raise core council tax by 3% without a referendum - up from 2% now.

Added to the 3% precept for councils funding social care it means some authorities could hike bills by an eye-watering 6% - the largest potential increase since 2003 for some homes.

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On top of that the Government said Police and Crime Commissioners would be allowed to raise bills by up to £12 a year as part of a scheme to unlock some £450m of funding for struggling forces.

Tory MP Bob Blackman told Mail Online: "It is not a happy Christmas message to see for hard-pressed council tax payers."

He added: "It will be 6% increase - that is double the rate of inflation. It hits people who are on low incomes and find it hard to pay their council tax.

"This will make it really hard for the people who are struggling to make ends-meet right now."

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told the site: "Both national and local government need to remember they are the servants of the people, not their masters.

"They should remember that all money is taxpayers’ money, and that they will be held accountable for tax rises and value for money at the ballot box."

And fellow Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Daily Telegraph: "I am concerned that tax as a percentage of GDP is up to the highest level since the 1970s. Council tax falls very heavily on those with fixed incomes.

"No one would want a return to the Blair Brown era of stealth taxes. This should be approached with caution."

Shadow Communities Secretary Andrew Gwynne blasted the package as “piecemeal” while Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said further police cuts were still “inevitable”.

The Local Government Association said many authorities were “beyond the point where council tax income can be expected to plug the growing funding gaps they face”.

It said the change to council tax would raise only £250m a year when the funding gap for town halls is on course to hit £5.8bn by 2020.

Mr Javid said the changes would give councils "the independence they need to help relieve pressure on local services" while "recognising the need to keep spending under control".

But the TaxPayers’ Alliance fumed: “It beggars belief that politicians are asking for powers to take even more of people’s hard-earned money.”