A third of local authorities are planning Council Tax rises this year according to a survey by the Local Government Chronicle.
Most of the rises are just below the threshold of two percent that would trigger a mandatory local referendum.
The rises come despite a pledge by national government to finance a council tax freeze by offering the equivalent of one percent. Councils that increase tax beyond this figure will automatically lose the funding, meaning that an increase of 1.99 percent would only actually make the authority 0.99 percent better off.
The rises are not just confined to Labour heartlands: 28 Conservative-run authorities are also plan to increase taxes, while the Green Party’s only local authority, Brighton and Hove, is planning an inflation-busting 4.75 percent rise.
The Local Government Association were unapologetic about the rises.
Sharon Taylor, the Chairman of the LGA Finance Panel said: “It should be for Councils and their residents to decide how local services are paid for, not Whitehall. The ballot box on local election day allows for people to pass judgement on their Councils.”
But Eric Pickles continued to call for a Council Tax freeze, saying: “I would urge councils to take up the offer of additional funding to help freeze council tax this year to help their residents with the cost of living.”