Kingston council tax rise condemned by Communities Secretary


Council plan to raise council tax by 1.99 per cent which will allow them to avoid a local referendum.


By Helena Hickey

Kingston council has been condemned by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles for proposing a 1.99 per cent rise in council tax.

In 2011, a new rule came into force meaning that town halls planning to raise their levy by more than two per cent must hold a local referendum on the issue.

Mr Pickles attacked Kingston and other councils who will avoid a referendum by increasing the tax by just under the two per cent threshold.

“Kingston should have the guts to put their hike to the public vote,” he said.

“Hiking council tax by 1.99 per cent and dodging a referendum is showing a complete contempt for their electorate.”

Kingston council defended the rise, saying that it had to find £2.4 million in cuts in order to pay for a huge reduction in its government funding, and added that a referendum would not be financially viable.

“It cost us £200,000 to run a local election, I assume a referendum would cost about the same,” said Derek Osbourne, the Liberal Democrat leader of the council.

The government has also called for councils to freeze local taxes, saying they have a ‘moral duty’ to do so. Mr Pickles said yesterday that only around a third of councils had committed to doing this so far.

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Picture courtesy of the Department for Communities and Local Government, with thanks.


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