Tax hike vote is on the cards...

Halifax Town Hall
Halifax Town Hall
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Calderdale householders could be given a vote on whether there is to be a council tax rise.

Councillors agreed in February that a 3.5 per cent increase would be necessary in 2013 and 2014.

But David Cameron told the Conservative Party Conference that any councils intending to put up council tax by more than 2 per cent will have to hold a referendum.

If they freeze tax levels, they can expect to receive an extra 1 per cent grant, said the Prime Minister.

Calderdale Council’s resources spokesman, Coun Bryan Smith (Lab, Ovenden) said: “This is just another off-the-cuff announcement, ratcheting up the pressure on councils, making it almost impossible to plan ahead and putting front line services at even greater risk.”

Halifax MP Linda Riordan said: “A council tax freeze sounds good but does nothing to help Calderdale residents in the long-term.

“Government policies are damaging this area enough and all this would do is tie the council’s hands, forcing it to make more cuts. It’s a cynical and gimmicky policy.”

Unless council tax goes up, councillors will face increasing pressure to trim services and staff in order to make savings to its £228 million budget, of which only £70 million comes directly from householders.

Last month, council leaders issued a dire financial warning about the need to make “very significant” spending reductions which could have “a catastrophic impact” on non-statutory services such as libraries, museums, swimming pools and sports centres, street sweeping, snow clearing, parks and gardens.