Only a third of councils around the United Kingdom have chosen to freeze their council tax bills, meaning that people across Britain who are already struggling to keep on top of their bills could suddenly find themselves out of their depth. Whilst some will be able to find temporary solace with payday loans or smart use of credit cards, others will have no option but to cut back on their spending or spend time working out what are the essentials and what are luxuries.
The last few years have been difficult for many households, but it had looked like things were beginning to improve halfway through last year, when the economy grew thanks to the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee. However, that was short lived, and the recent news of contracting GDP and now this potential jump in council tax could see people fall back into the financial doldrums.
Communities Minister Eric Pickles has voiced his concerns over the taxes, saying that councils “have to man up. Be straight with people […] councils should also stop treating residents with contempt. That’s why we’re making sure local people have their say by lowering the referendum threshold for council tax.”
The referendum he’s referring to is a policy brought in by the coalition government which meant that any council tax increases of 2% or more had to be approved in a referendum by the people affected. This has been criticised by many due to the costs involved and the costs of cutting down council tax to local services, demonstrating that there are two sides to every argument.
This most recent news shows that the battle between councils and the community minister is far from over, and there are many reports that councils are trying to find any loophole or way around the limit that they can.