Council tax bills to rise by 8.6%

By James HoreA COUNCIL leader has revealed he would have liked to have hiked its council tax bill by as mush as 30%, but was prevented by the threat of capping.

By James Hore

A COUNCIL leader has revealed he would have liked to have hiked its council tax bill by as much as 30%, but was prevented by the threat of capping.

Terry Allen, leader of Tendring District Council, said the increase - which would have cost band D taxpayers about 75p more per week - would have given the authority a surplus on its budget.

But he added the council had decided to settle for an 8.6% increase rather than face being capped by the Government and then having to spend thousands of pounds reworking its budget.


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“Several investments we wanted to make will have to be curtailed, but anything lower than 8.6% would have decimated services and we are not prepared to do that,” said Mr Allen.

He added improvements to leisure facilities, planning and closed circuit television coverage would probably have to remain on the drawing board.

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“If we had been more realistic and had an increase of 75p or 80p per week, we would be running in surplus this year. That would have given us security now and in the future,” pointed out the Conservative councillor.

Les Double, the Labour group leader on the council, acknowledged the authority was “stuck between a rock and a hard place”.

But he added: “I do not think the council tax should be set like a big dipper ride - up one year and then down the next.

“If there was a financial commitment, why did they not start it last year when there was no such thing as capping?

“I have no problem with putting finances at a level that can provide the quality of services that are needed, but why should it be left short, allowing them to blame the Government?”

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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