§ Lord Greaves
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they accept the report in The Times newspaper of 11 March that the average council tax increase in London and in areas with metropolitan councils will be "around 6 per cent"; and, if so, what are the reasons for this increase being over twice the underlying inflation rate of 2.6 per cent; and [HL3378]
Whether they accept the report in The Times newspaper of 11 March that the average council tax in areas with county councils will show a 9.4 per cent rise on last year; and, if so, what are the reasons for this increase being 3.6 times greater than the underlying inflation rate of 2.6 per cent, and half as much again as the average increase in London and areas with metropolitan councils. [HL3379]64WA
§ Lord Falconer of Thoroton
Information showing council taxes for each English authority for 2002–03 was published on 21 March 2002.
The increases in council tax will be: 6.4 per cent in London; 5.1 per cent in metropolitan areas; 9.9 per cent in areas with shire county councils; and 9.0 per cent in areas with shire unitary councils.
Decisions on council taxes are for local authorities to take, after consulting their local electorate and taxpayers. However, with an average grant increase of 7.5 per cent, local authorities should be able to deliver improvements to public services while setting reasonable council tax increases.
There is some evidence of a link between council tax rises and electoral cycles. This is especially true for county councils, where elections were held last year and the average rise this year is significantly higher than those for most of the other types of authority that have responsibility for the same services.