County Hall could hold a referendum to increase Council Tax

KCC estimates that unless additional Government money is forthcoming, it will face a £50million deficit.


Earlier this week, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council said it also faced a black hole in its budget of £8million if the Treasury does not provide extra funding.

According to the BBC’s Local Democracy service, KCC could hold a referendum on increasing Council Tax bills across the 12 districts and boroughs to fill the funding gap.

Since 2012, rules have prevented councils from increasing Council Tax if it would result in bills rising by more than 6 per cent without first holding a referendum, but no authority has ever held one.

However, at a virtual scrutiny meeting this week, KCC’s Labour group leader Dara Farrell asked Head of Finance and Deputy leader of the Council, Peter Oakford, whether he would ‘consider threatening a referendum on the Council Tax increase threshold?’

“When councils have done that previously, suddenly Government has been able to find them some more money,” he said.

Councillor Oakford did not rule out the move and said: “I would support it, but I can’t speak for the leader or other Cabinet members. I think we are in such a position where we will have to challenge the Government.”

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