Councillors call for 6% tax increase
Five Cornwall councillors are seeking a 6 per cent hike in council tax in a bid to mitigate planned budget cuts.
They have submitted a motion to a full council meeting on October 22 asking the cabinet to prepare an alternative budget for 2014-15 based on the 6 per cent increase.
Currently, the cabinet is planning an increase of just under 2 per cent after the council has frozen council tax increases for the past three years, despite central government funding being cut during the period.
The motion is being put forward by a cross-party selection of councillors – Bob Egerton of the non-aligned group, Independent Lisa Dolley, Tim Andrewes of the Green Party, Stephanie McWilliam, leader of the UKIP group, and David Hughes of the Liberal Democrats.
Probus and Grampound councillor Mr Egerton said: "We are now starting to see the impact of cuts to frontline services. We cannot go on indefinitely not putting up council tax and expecting services to be maintained. An increase of 6 per cent in council tax will not mean that we can save all services, but it will make the cuts less severe than they otherwise would be.''
Lib Dem councillor Alex Folkes, cabinet member for finance, said although it was right to debate the hike proposal, he would not be supporting it.
He said residents could not afford an inflation-busting increase and such a move would also result in a costly referendum, as stipulated by the Government if a council increases council tax above 2 per cent. "I simply do not believe that such a referendum is winnable," he said.