Rishi Sunak slams local authorities over council tax rises as residents face 21 per cent hike

Rishi Sunak slams local authorities over council tax rises as residents face 21 per cent hike

Income Tax should be cut by 1p in Budget, says Jonathan Gullis

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 09/02/2024

- 13:03

Local authorities are requesting to raise council tax above the five per cent cap which the Prime Minister has described as “not right”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has slammed local authorities as “not right” for raising council tax by too much during the cost of living crisis.

He made this statement despite councils fighting to stay afloat due to many reporting record funding shortfalls.

This comes as Pembrokeshire local authority has proposed hikes between 16 per cent and 21 per cent to tackle the “most challenging financial situation”.

Earlier this week, the Government gave certain councils the power to raise taxes by more than the five per cent cap.

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Rishi Sunak and council tax bill

Councils have been placed under financial pressure but are still under fire from the Prime Minister


Historically, local authorities either needed permission from Government to hike council tax past this threshold or hold a referendum on doing so.

Among the councils told by the Government they are permitted to raise council tax by more than this amount include Thurrock, Woking, Slough and Birmingham.

So far, Bedfordshire is the only local authority to have held a vote on the matter in 2015 with residents rejecting the proposal.

Appearing on BBC Radio Somerset, Mr Sunak too councils to task failing to “strike the balance” when it comes to tax rises during the rise in the cost of living.

He explained: “It’s important that councils manage the cost of living for their residents, and councils that are asking the government to just allow them to whack in incredibly high council tax rises – [that] is not right.”

“We can strike the balance between councils raising the money they need, but making sure they don’t unnecessarily burden people.”

The Prime Minister criticised Somerset council, which is led by the Liberal Democrats, for its handling of the issue.

Mr Sunak added: “Somerset of course can talk to their residents if they want to have a referendum on putting in excessive council tax rises, but ultimately they should manage the finances.”

Pensioner looks worried at tax statement

Residents of once council could see tax rates rise by as much as 21 per cent


Somerset council was refused permission to raise taxes above the cap despite the local authority having a £100million budget deficit.

In England, councils have seen grant funding from central Government plummet by 40 per cent between 2010 and 2020.

Birmingham, Nottingham and Croydon are among the eight local authorities which have declared themselves bankrupt.

Last month, Communities Secretary Michael Gove confirmed £600million would be placed into local Government funding to prevent further bankruptcies from taking place.

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