Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is expected to increase council tax during Thursday’s Autumn Statement causing the average Band D bill to exceed £2,000 for the first time. However, a whopping 95 percent of Express.co.uk readers do not support his move, according to a new poll.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Mr Hunt are preparing to lift the decade-long cap and allow local councils to increase council tax without the consent of residents.
At present council tax cannot increase annually by more than 2.99 percent plus an additional one percent for social care. Changes would reportedly allow councils to hike taxes by five percent, in an effort to ease pressures on social care. The move would remove the need for a local referendum but risks breaching the Conservative party’s 2019 manifesto pledge.
The average D property would be charged an additional £100 forcing annual bills over £2,000. Millions of Britons in this category have already seen their bills rise by more than £5000 since the Tories took government in 2010. An additional £200 could be added to Band H properties pushing bills over £4,000.
A Treasury Source told The Telegraph that during the cost of living crisis councils need “more flexibility” to raise money, adding that the increase would remain below inflation which soared to a 41-year high of 11.1 percent in October.
In a poll that ran from 11:30am on Tuesday, November 15, to 3pm on Wednesday, November 16, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Do you back Jeremy Hunt’s council tax hike as Britons face a £2,000 bill?”
In total, 3,171 readers responded with the overwhelming majority, 95 percent (3,000 people) answering “no” against Mr. Hunt’s council tax hike.
Whereas five percent (156 people) said “yes” in favor of the proposal and a further 15 people said they did not know.
Readers shared their thoughts on the council tax hike with hundreds of comments left below the accompanying article.
Many readers argued against council tax increasing, username 51118 said: “Council tax increases are unbearable, everybody is struggling to pay the ridiculous amounts asked for poor services.”
Username Islands said: “Council tax is one of the most unfair taxes there is and penalizes the poor in wealthy areas. How, when there is a cost of living crisis, can any government further increase the burden on the poor?”
While username tabitha wrote: “I fear what they plan to do will be detrimental to most of the people of the UK.”
And username hr said: “The more money you give to councils the more money they waste.”
Other readers commented that they wanted better services from their local councils, with username northernsouler12 writing: “We get absolutely nothing from the council for this money, its a rip-off.”
Username TheUKisOfficiallyScrewed said: “The policing is non-existent, the street lighting goes off at midnight, the county roads are abysmal etc. So what value for money is anyone getting?”
Another, username DoggyPaws, said: “What do I get for the EXISTING over £2k pa? My bin emptied once a fortnight, payment of £20 to take away a mattress, £40 extra to take away garden rubbish, roads completely unusable with great potholes everywhere, pavements a death trap, street cleaning non-existent, lighting not replaced, no Police in sight and virtually no libraries, no swimming baths, NOTHING! They ask for more and they can take a running jump!”
Meanwhile, some readers questioned the structure of councils, with username Stars1 writing: “Local councils are like the NHS, too many overpaid councilors and top managers, they need to be held to account regarding their spending on high earners and unnecessary projects.”
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The research shows councils face a £3.4billion funding gap in 2023-24 rising to £4.5billion in 2024-25. The LGA recognizes that a 20 percent increase is “neither sustainable nor desirable given the cost-of-living crisis”.
LGA chairman, Councilor James Jamieson said that several vital services face an “existential crisis”.
He explained: “Reserves can only be spent once and a local service cannot be cut twice. The Government needs to urgently come up with a long-term plan to fund local services.”
Tory-run local authorities, Hampshire and Kent County Council, have both written to the Prime Minister asking for a bailout to avoid bankruptcy.