Terry Jermy, Breckland Labour leader

Labour backs 7.8pc tax rise proposed by Breckland Council Conservatives

Sunday, February 3, 2013
10.20 AM

Labour councillors have backed a 7.8pc council tax increase proposed by Breckland Council’s Conservative administration.

Well-used - the Cherry Tree car park in Dereham.; Photo: Bill SmithWell-used - the Cherry Tree car park in Dereham.; Photo: Bill Smith

The tax rise would see the element of council tax set by the district rise by £4.98 a year to £69.03 for band D properties.

Terry Jermy, Labour leader on Breckland Council, said: “The level of council tax increase proposed will be disappointing for many, but it was something that was consulted upon and it is a necessary measure to prevent even further cuts to essential services.

“The way in which this Conservative-led government is starving local councils of vital funds whilst granting a tax cut to millionaires is frankly outrageous.”

The tax increase will not need to be approved in a referendum.

The government had said any rise above 2pc required a public vote, but in December it relaxed the rules to allow councils with low tax levels, such as Breckland, to put bills up by up to £5 a year.

Speaking on Friday, Breckland Council leader William Nunn said he stood by the decision to freeze council tax in the previous three years, but was recommending what could could be the highest percentage rise in the country this year.

He said: “I’m saying quite openly I’m going to go for the amount I’m allowed to raise because of differentiation in historic data to at least start to balance the gap between savings and income.”

In Breckland Council’s budget consultation last autumn, 47pc of people said they supported increasing council tax “by the maximum possible”, although at the time they were told this was likely to be 3.5pc.

A total of 33pc supported a tax rise in line with inflation, and 20pc wanted to see council tax frozen.

Mr Nunn also revealed on Friday that the council would not introduce car parking charges in Dereham, Thetford, Swaffham, Watton and Attleborough.