Hull councillor says he would support rise in council tax next year
A LEADING city councillor says he would support an increase in council tax next year.
Tax bills for council services Hull have been frozen for the past three years.
The move has been made possible with additional government funding.
Ministers recently set aside another £450m to pay councils the equivalent of a 1 per cent rise for two years if they agree to freeze bills for a further 12 months.
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But deputy city council leader Daren Hale says the authority might have to put up council tax charges from next April to help ease the squeeze on its own budgets.
Reporting to this week's full council meeting, he said: "I do feel that we have to consider putting the council tax up to protect the city's financial base moving forward as national Government continues to take, without mercy, the local authority budget allocation.
"A one-year, one-off sweetener from the Government equivalent to 1 per cent when they continue to remove money from their allocation to councils certainly leaves a sour taste in my mouth."
Cllr Hale, who is also the portfolio holder for finance, said: "If taken, it would also compound our financial position, leading to bigger cuts next year.
"I know others may disagree with my views, so I look forward to a debate on these matters at budget-setting time."
Liberal Democrat deputy leader Councillor Mike Ross said: "This is the first time Labour has floated the idea of putting up council tax charges next year.
"We will be watching what happens to this proposal over the next few weeks."
A growing number of councils across the UK have already indicated their intention to reject the Government's grant scheme for freezing council tax.
Last year, when councils freezing tax received funding equivalent to a 2.5 per cent increase, one in ten declined the offer and opted for a rise instead.