Labour Party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has called for a planned hike in Council Tax, due to come into effect in April, to be completely scrapped.
The leader of the opposition is arguing that any rise in household bills now, as we continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic, would be morally wrong and incredibly unfair on the British public who are still reeling and desperately trying to recover their financial situations.
...do Councils up and down the land have much choice?
Their costs have continued to rise with inflation, but also as a result of the extra measures needed to ensure public safety in a pandemic.
Much of their income has been cut considerably, or lost altogether, and their hands have been somewhat tied when it comes to chasing up unpaid debts and fines too.
Councils have had to make tough decisions regarding future spending plans, and caution has been the order of the day for most, with budgets likely to get tighter and more residents who are likely to struggle and need their support.
It’s a bit of a double-edged sword.
Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
What Labour are calling for, is more money to be cascaded down from central Government, but is that a possibility?
Robert Jenrick and RIshi Sunak have been going back to the magic money tree every now and then, but a suspension on the Council Tax rise would call for a magic money orchard, and there surely can’t be much left to be scraped from the barrel.
Labour is appealing to the masses by calling for this suspension of Council Tax, because it seems like the fair thing to do, but funding for things like refuse collection services, street lighting, care homes and a whole host of other vital public services is needed too, and it has to come from somewhere.
In our view, the rise in Council Tax seems inevitable, no matter how loud the people shout about it.
The good news with this is that public services should continue to function.
The bad news with this is that households will face yet more difficulty in the months and years ahead, with an estimated average annual rise of around £90 in charges.
Not insignificant at all, especially if you’re out of work or struggling with your mental health.
There are a couple of months until April, and so the situation may change yet.
As ever, #TeamCES will keep you posted with the latest updates, as well as on how we are supporting those who are most vulnerable to issues such as rises in Council Tax.