Thomas Bridge 19 February 2015

Council charges likely to rise under budget pressures, poll reveals

Over half of councils fear they won’t have enough funding to cover their legal duties this year, a survey has revealed.

Charges for services including parking, toilets, green waste collection and burials could skyrocket over the next twelve months, with over 80% of councils polled by The MJ and Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) planning to increase prices to balance their 2015/16 budgets.

Half of town halls surveyed are planning to increase local levies beyond 1% despite Government deals to limit rises in local levies.

A majority of those questioned called for an end to the Barnett formula that sets public spending, while 82% said council tax should be re-evaluated by the next Government.

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of LGiU, said: ‘Councils across the country are telling us that the local government finance system is broken. We know they are struggling to make ends meet as they balance their budgets for next year in a system that is out-dated and not fit for purpose.’

Heather Jameson, editor of The MJ, added: ‘The local government funding system is beyond broken and with the twin pressures of cuts and increasing demand councils are getting dangerously close to collapse. If we want local services that are fit for purpose and affordable, we need an urgent overhaul of the local government finance system – and of the way local public services work together.’

Visit The MJ for free access to the full story.

Further analysis of the results can also be found on The MJ site (£).

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