Labour councillors' fury as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt hikes council tax hitting thousands in West Northamptonshire hardest
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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt gave councils a green light to hike council tax by up to five percent from April 1, 2023. But thousands in the former Daventry district council area will be hit harder as bills are 'levelled up' with the rest of the unitary authority.
A three-year plan to harmonise council tax charges with the former Northampton Borough and South Northamptonshire council areas means bills in Daventry could increase by nearly seven percent. South Northants will see a smaller increase because bills there are already higher than in the other two areas — but residents there will also have to cough up an extra £42 a year if they want to continue garden waste collections under the council’s new subscription scheme.
Labour councillors said the Government has “picked the pockets of the public to pay for the damage they caused to the economy".
The authority's shadow finance lead, Councillor Danielle Stone, added: “The government has cut council budgets and made decisions that increase the demand for the services they provide.
“Years of underfunding has left gaping holes in local authority finances. How do they fix this? By telling them to raise council tax by five percent. Never before have our residents had to pay so much and yet got so little in return.
“History and the Bank of England tell us that the route out of recession is growth. Labour has a long-term plan that will kick start our economy and get it growing again. Using the talent and hard work of the hundreds of thousands of residents in West Northants, we will create thousands of green, high-quality jobs, fix business rates and taxes so that our high streets and businesses can thrive.”
Local authorities can currently increase council tax by 2.99 percent a year without holding a referendum — 1.99 percent on the general charge and another one percent to cover social care.
The Chancellor glossed over the change in his Commons speech but the full budget text published later confirmed: “The Government is giving local authorities additional flexibility by increasing the referendum limit for increases in council tax to three percent per year from April 2023.
“In addition, local authorities with social care responsibilities will be able to increase the adult social care precept by up to two percent per year.
“This will give local authorities greater flexibility to set council tax levels based on the needs, resources and priorities of their area, including adult social care.”
Mr Hunt announced benefits and pensions will rise by 10.1 percent in line with inflation but the energy price guarantee ‘cap’ — based on what a 'typical' household would pay over a year — goes up from £2,500 a year to £3,000, effectively adding 20 percent to bills.
Money saving guru Martin Lewis warned: “In reality though, all households will actually see an even bigger rise to bills of 43 percent as the £400 payment all homes are getting this winter under the energy bill support scheme will not be extended.”