Government minister calls for public vote on council tax increases as SKDC proposes a rise

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A Government minister has called on councils to hold referendums on council tax rises, as SKDC looks set to increase its precept by four per cent.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has said that councils are “dodging democracy” by not giving people the chance to vote on rises.

Ministers have also said that any council proposing to raise taxes by more than two per cent should hold a public vote.

However the Local Government Association has defended rises, saying councils are under strain due to Government funding cuts.

As reported in the Journal last week, SKDC hopes to increase the Band D level payment by £5 per year. Council leader Linda Neal said that SKDC has been given dispensation by the Government to raise the tax as it is in the bottom 50 councils nationally for the amount of tax it charges for its services.

In response to Mr Pickles’ comments, Councillor Neal said: “The Government has recognised that spending cuts have posed particular difficulties for councils which are already low cost. As a result we are one of only 50 authorities in the country who have been given dispensation to increase their share of the council tax above the nationally prescribed 2 per cent. This is in recognition of the fact that we are a well-run and efficient council.”