Swindon residents living in Parished areas are set to face the largest council-tax increase from any local authority in the country. After Surrey County Council decided against holding a referendum on a 15% council tax increase no other local authority has decided to charge above an average 4.99% increase. A national media survey has shown Nottingham City Council to have the largest average council-tax increase of £76 for a Band D property.
However due to Swindon Council seeking to increase council-tax by more in parished than current non-parished areas, Swindon residents in parished areas will be receiving the highest council-tax increase in the country. Residents in parished areas will face a council tax increase of £85 which is the equivalent of a 7.2% increase.
The Localism Act stipulates that any council-tax increase of 5% or more has to be determined through a local referendum, however this has been interpreted by Swindon Council as local authorities not being able to set an “average” increase of 5% or more.
The Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Jim Grant, said:
“After years of proclaiming to be a low tax party, Swindon’s Conservative Council have now achieved the status of highest council tax increasing authority in the country, it’s a dramatic change in philosophy.
While it is true that half of Swindon will only be getting a 3.1% increase which leads to the 4.99% average increase, I think that will come as no comfort to those residents in parished areas who will be paying the largest council tax increase anywhere in the country.
I’m now being contacted by residents who are very angry the council are increasing the council-tax by such a large amount when the government said any increase of 5% or more had to be agreed through a local referendum. I have every sympathy for them and agree that they should be getting the referendum promised by the Tory Government through the Localism Act.”