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Cornwall Faces Tax Hike

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7:01am 9th January 2013

Cornwall is facing a fresh tax hike.

The council is asking for 1.97% more council tax. That works out at about 42p a week for the average Band C home.

County Hall warns without the increase services will be cut. But opponents are furious and are accusing the council of 'picking pockets.'

The announcement, which still needs final approval, comes less than three months after most councillors voted to give themselves a 20% pay rise.

Council leader Jim Currie said: "Although we have protected front line services from the impact of the disproportionately large cuts in our Government funding over the past two years by increasing efficiency and restructuring services, the combination of the continuing economic recession, further funding reductions and the costs of additional responsibilities means we are now being forced to consider increasing council tax levels for the first time in two years.

"The budget proposals already require all services to deliver further efficiencies to cover the costs of inflation and changes in legislation. We appreciate that many people are already struggling to pay their bills but the scale of the financial challenges we are facing means that increasing council tax is the only option if we want to continue to provide a full range of services for people in Cornwall."

Robert Oxley from the Taxpayers Alliance questioned why the news was only released to the media at 6.20pm on Tuesday evening and pointed out that the increase is just below the point at which the council would be forced to hold a referendum: "This council is putting the rise just below the referendum point. They don't want to ask people's point of view on this. If they did hold a referendum I guarantee, they'd lose it.

"The council has to get away from this idea that picking the pocket of taxpayers is the answer to all their problems.

In October a majority of councillors voted in favour of bumping up pay by £2,472 a year. That is on top of the current £12,128.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles suggested they use some of the money to buy the "darkest sunglasses they can possibly get."

The final decision on the council tax increase will be taken on the 26th February.

7:01am 9th January 2013

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