Call Made For Council-Tax Increase Transparency To Taxpayers

The Swindon Labour Group has called on Swindon Council to ensure every council-taxpayer in Swindon is fully aware of their council-tax increase.

Every year Swindon Council issues every household with a council-tax statement and leaflet explaining how people’s council-taxes are increased and spent.

In the Cabinet’s budget and council-tax proposals, they had claimed that people would have their council-taxes increased by 4.99% which would not trigger a local referendum. However subsequently it has been found that the 4.99% increase is only an average increase and 40% of households would be paying a 7.2% increase in their council-tax. Because Swindon Council has devolved many local “streetsmart” services to parish councils, it has also been the case that Parish Councils have increased their precepts to very high levels compared to previous years.

The Labour Group are seeking to ensure that people understand the level of their council-tax increase and the amount they will be taxed through parish precepts. They argue that it would be ‘deliberately misleading’ if council-taxpayers were informed of just the average borough council’s tax increase.

The Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Jim Grant, said:

“What we are calling for is for Swindon Borough Council to tell people very clearly, what the level of their council-tax increase will be and why this increase has come about.

It is clear the scale of council-tax increases is unprecedented for Swindon and people will want to know why and how this scale of overall council-tax increase has come about. So it is crucial that Swindon Council spells out clearly the level of increase people are having to pay in their council-tax and where this money will be going.

I was alarmed when the Cabinet tried to suggest that people were only paying a 4.99% increase in their council-tax, when this is simply not the case. The variance will be huge depending on where you live so it is important people know what exactly the increase they will have to pay is.

When using council resources, doing anything other than telling people what their actual council-tax increase will be, would be deliberately misleading.”