Council tax frozen again in Kettering

Kettering Council's portion of council tax has been frozen for the eighth year in a row - despite being branded '˜ridiculous' by one Tory backbencher.

Tuesday, 27th February 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Thursday, 1st March 2018, 12:59 pm

The local authority has not increased its charge, which amounts to about 13 per cent of the council tax you pay, since 2011/12.

On Wednesday it approved keeping the £3.07 per week charge (for an average Band B property).

But Conservative councillor Jim Hakewill said imposing a freeze again is ‘crazy’.

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In a budget consultation he said: “Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) only froze council tax for three years, eight years is ridiculous.

“Retaining council tax at that level is absolutely crazy.

“Throughout the report officers recommend to raise council tax but this is a political issue.

“KPMG state that financial pressures are likely to increase.

“The Government assumes [a] 3 per cent rise and by not doing this we have forgone nearly £1m of revenue.”

Conservative county councillor Chris Smith-Haynes added that claims of eight years of freezes were not true for every member of the community, as the minimum council tax payment for those in need had risen from 20 per cent to 45 per cent.

And Labour councillor Anne Lee said she would prefer a two per cent increase rather than a freeze.

But other Tories leapt to the defence of the proposed freeze in the budget consultation, saying to increase their portion in light of other increase would add to the woes of residents.

Cllr Jenny Henson said: “In light of having to pay increased council tax to NCC, I think it will be bad enough for everyone to find increases from other preceptors.

“At the moment, yes we could increase council tax, but we are not in dire straits so we can stay as we are.”

Cllr Greg Titcombe said: “It is looking as though council tax payers will be facing a large increase.

“For us to put an additional increase on would increase it further, it is a political decision.”

And Cllr Paul Marks said: “I am opposed to a council tax increase because I went into politics to stop them.”

A one per cent rise brings in an additional yield of about £65,000 per year for Kettering Council.

The authority cannot increase its portion by more than three per cent, which would equate to extra income of about £195,000.

The decision was made just hours after Northamptonshire County Council sets its level of council tax, with an increase of almost six per cent.

The police and crime commissioner has already approved an increase in its council tax of 5.74 per cent.