Taxpayers face £100 council tax increase

Council tax bills in England could increase by 10%, unless more funding is provided for local governments.

In its annual statement on council tax, the Local Government Association said that councils were being expected to provide more services, without receiving an equivalent level of funding.

The LGA warned that unless the government filled a £2.2 billion ‘black hole’ in local government finances, taxpayers could expect to see an increase in council tax bills of around £100 per year.

The report warned that councils were being forced to find an additional £2.8 billion to meet the pressures from the rising costs of legislative and policy demands, as well as demographic trends, such as an ageing population.

These figures included £663 million for elderly and adult services; £599 million for children’s services; £699 for anti-social behaviour, housing and pensions and £292 million for transport.

The LGA said that the shortfall had been partially offset by a government commitment to increase funding in areas such as asylum seekers and licensing, although a deficit of £2.2 billion remained.

Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, Chairman of the LGA, said: "This new evidence makes for bleak reading for council taxpayers. Although ministers have confirmed that local government has been more successful than any other part of the public sector in making efficiency savings, we are still staring at a £2.2 billion black hole in town hall budgets.

"The government has introduced new standards and is making ever more legislative and policy demands on councils without providing an equivalent level of funding. The proposed increase in government grants of £300 million is not even enough to cover basic inflation.”

The Conservatives warned that the elderly would suffer the most from an increase in council tax bills. Shadow Local Government Secretary Caroline Spelman said: "I am concerned that the elderly, already facing soaring heating bills this winter, will not be able to pay their council tax demands. Labour's taxes have hit not only hard-working families, but also some of the most vulnerable people in our society."


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

21 March 2007
Council tax report recommends changes
People living in the most expensive properties in England should pay more council tax, a report has recommended.
31 March 2005
Lib Dems pledge to scrap 'unfair' council tax
The Liberal Democrats have vowed to scrap the "unfair" council tax, on the 15th anniversary of the poll tax riots. The party said that the council tax should be replaced with a local income tax, based on the ability to pay.
11 January 2005
Campaign launched to improve uptake of council tax benefit
The Government has launched a campaign encouraging pensioners in England, Scotland and Wales to check if they are paying too much council tax. Adverts in the national press carry the message 'cut your council tax – find out if you should be paying less.
18 September 2003
Charity groups demand reform of council tax charges
Help the Aged and The Royal British Legion have joined forces today to demand a reform of council tax and Council Tax Benefit. The two charities say that "annual inflation-busting" increases in council tax "unfairly discriminate" against older people, whose incomes tend to be fixed or linked to inflation.
20 April 2005
Tories & Lib Dems launch council tax plans
The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have both unveiled plans to tackle council tax. The Conservatives have pledged to cancel Labour’s planned revaluation of homes in England for the council tax.