Outrageous council tax rise proposed

Date published: 28 December 2012

Rochdale Borough Council is proposing to increase Council Tax by an outrageous 3.5% next year.

The steep rise will hit very hard given the latest official figures reveal average pay has been cut in real terms by more than 3.5% as salary increases have failed to keep pace with inflation.

In 2009, before Labour took control of the Council, Councillor Colin Lambert, commenting on the then Lib Dem council's proposed 3.7% council tax rise, said: "Their council tax rise of 3.7% is outrageous in the current economic climate." Despite the worsening economic climate, Councillor Lambert, now the leader of the council, appears to have changed his tune.

Moreover, despite the 3.5% being above the council tax referendum threshold of 2% - if a local authority seeks to raise the relevant amount of basic council tax by more than 2% then a council tax referendum is required and local people would have the right to vote whether to increase council tax through a binding referendum veto - the council believes that the increase of 3.5% will not trigger a referendum.

The council has not explained why it believes a referendum would not be triggered, despite 3.5% clearly being above the 2% threshold, however, in a reply to local businessman Paul Turner-Mitchell asking "should we have a referendum in Rochdale as Rochdale Council propose increasing Council Tax by 3.5% next year?", Brandon Lewis MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government, says: "they will have to at that level, yes."

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