Recession ‘muting council tax hikes’

By staff

Council tax rises could average as low as 1.6 per cent this year, research suggests.

A survey by the Local Government Chronicle puts the likely annual increase at its lowest level for over a decade.

London councils could even introduce cuts in council tax of 0.2 per cent, according to the survey.

District councils plan a 2.03 per cent hike and county councils a 1.85 per cent increase. Unitary authorities’ average predicted increase stands at 2.63 per cent.

Looming elections are said to be a major factor for councils keen to avoid the damaging prospect of council tax hikes amid a recession.

The London School of Economics’ Tony Travers told the Local Government Chronicle he feared local authorities were in a “race to the bottom”.

“I would expect the national average to be between one per cent and two per cent and, because there are local elections, I would not be surprised if the average in London was below zero,” he said.