Posted tagged ‘party conferences’

Council Tax Conundrum

October 4, 2011

Do not pass go but we'll give you £72

After feeling rather hard done by over the past few weeks as first the Liberal Democrats and then the Labour Party more or less ignored Local Government at their party conferences the Conservatives have sought to redress the balance and then some in the first few days of their conference. What’s more, announcements about council tax, waste and the right to buy have come before Mr Pickles has even had his moment in the conference spotlight.

Despite being pleased about the rightful focus on local government, alongside the many other important issues discussed, over the past few days the local government announcements have left me feeling a little conflicted. The policy on weekly waste collection was ridiculous and the policy on right to buy and house building is a classic ‘devil is in the detail’ announcement. Which leaves council tax and on this I can’t help but feel a little let down.

First the positive news:

  • The Government is providing local councils with over £800 million. This money is new money.
  • Many councillors were feeling very twitchy about raising council tax this year and it is entirely possible that a 2.5% increase is more than many councils would have got had the decision been left to the councillors.

So far so good.

However, let’s not pretend that a 2.5% increase makes much of a difference to the council budget.

(Here comes the science bit)