I did an interview with BBC Radio Kent on Friday – going out on the breakfast show on Monday. Several Kent Councils, including Tonbridge and Malling where I live, are rejecting Eric Pickles bribe of just over £200k to freeze their Council Tax. Every Council doing this is going for the maximum 2.9% rise they are allowed without a referendum.
Interestingly they are using the same argument that Brighton and Hove Greens used for rejecting the money. It would mean they would start from a lower base figure the following year and they would therefore have less money overall in the long term.
Those Councils which have not increased Council Tax are increasing various charges – mainly for refuse collection or car parking. Dover is going to charge for collecting garden waste. We all know the kind of outcry which accompanies any raise in parking charges and increasing refuse charges is only going to reduce recycling and/or lead to more fly tipping.
Raising Council Tax rather than individual charges seems infinitely more sensible and spreads the burden of the increases across the whole of the Borough rather than targeting specific groups and encouraging poor behaviour.