Most English local authorities ‘plan to raise council tax’

Bin workers out collecting in Telford

Image caption

Refuse collecting and other council services are among those under pressure

Almost all councils in England plan to increase council tax and many will be cutting services, research suggests.

Three-quarters of local authorities are set to increase tax by more than 2.5% from April, the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) said.

It comes as almost a third of councils said they were planning to cut spending on adult social care, and a quarter expect to reduce children’s care.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils have “little choice”.

The survey, by the LGiU think tank and the Municipal Journal, found eight in 10 councils believe the current funding system is “unsustainable”.

‘Little choice’

Some 97% of local authorities were planning to raise council tax in 2019-20.

A local referendum is needed to increase council tax by 3% or more in most areas.

LGiU chief executive Jonathan Carr-West said councils had no option but to adopt “drastic measures” if they were to make ends meet.

“We know that council funding is broken. Councils are making do by increasing council tax as much as they can, increasing charging and dipping in to their reserves,” he said.

Richard Watts, the chairman of the LGA’s resources board, said: “Many councils feel they have little choice but to ask residents to pay more council tax again this year to help them try and protect their local services.”

The survey is based on the responses from 158 senior council figures, including leaders, chief executives and finance directors, representing 123 of the 353 English local authorities.

Staff Writer
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