Tax rises protest warning

MORE rebellions are on the cards if a council tax rise of £100-a-year becomes reality, a Suffolk protester predicted today.Taxpayers in England could face the increase on their bills unless the Government plugs a £2.

MORE rebellions are on the cards if a council tax rise of £100-a-year becomes reality, a Suffolk protester predicted today.

Taxpayers in England could face the increase on their bills unless the Government plugs a £2.2 billion "black hole" in local government finances, town hall chiefs have warned.

However Reg Hartles, of Felixstowe, the leader of PACTS (Protest Against Council Tax in Suffolk), believes large rises would lead to further confrontation.

He said: “I'm sure there will be a public outcry again. Anything above the rate of inflation is always unacceptable. I think there will be great outrage and a lot of hardship for a lot of people. I can see more people saying no and you will get more people going to jail.

The Local Government Association said the demands being made on councils for action across a range of policy areas were outstripping the resources available to pay for them.

Mr Hartles believes the onus should be on the country's leaders to fund services in a fairer way.

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He said: “I think the government are very much responsible for this great problem. It should listen to Is if Fair (the national council tax protest organisation) or PACTS.

“Is it Fair has come up with alternative suggestions of raising the necessary money and taxing people in a different way, rather than house value and everybody would contribute on an affordable basis.”

But Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, the chairman of the LGA, warned the outlook for council tax payers was bleak unless town halls received a "substantial' injection of government cash.

Otherwise he claimed there would be a £2.2billion deficit, leading to a rise of 10 per cent on the average council tax bill.

The claims were dismissed by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) as "pure fantasy'.

Yesterday The Evening Star reported nearly £6million in council tax had remained uncollected in Suffolk by the end of the last financial year.

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