Council Tax bills could rocket by more than 300 for millions of families under government plans to scrap borough and county councils, the Conservative Party has warned.
Shadow local government minister Eric Pickles says the White Paper scheme to restructure local government and abandon the traditional two-tier system of councils could cost as much as 345 per household in the areas of England affected by the proposed changes.
He warns: “Restructuring will do nothing to improve local services and would make town halls more distant from local people.
Working families and pensioners, already suffering from punishing Council Tax hikes, could see their bills rise by up to 345, with little likelihood of any long-term savings.
Taxpayers should not let their councils surrender to Labour’s plans for gerrymandering unless they want to open their wallets.”?
Pickles adds: “Just as with police force reorganisation, Labour’s real agenda is regionalisation by stealth.
If England’s historic boroughs or counties are wiped off the map and replaced with ‘sub-regional’ hybrids, it will weaken local identities and create a vacuum in which the unelected regional assemblies will suck up yet more power.?
“If the government really wants to save money, it should start by scrapping John Prescott’s tiers of regional bureaucrats who have no mandate, no legitimacy and no accountability.”?
Research by Cambridge University emeritus professor Michael Chisholm estimates that the reorganisation costs of converting district councils to unitaries would be in the region of 121 per head, with “every prospect that on-going costs would in fact be increased”.
The Conservative Party calculates that such a bill would be equivalent to 345 per Council Tax-paying household.?