The Taxpayers’ Alliance has criticised councils across England for imposing stealth taxes on their residents by increasing charges for services, even when the level of services has been reduced.
In a new report that analysed more than 22 services provided by local authorities, the Taxpayers’ Alliance found that fees and charges had ‘rocketed.’ As an example cited in the report, charges for waste collection have risen, despite many councils curtailing the number of bin collection days. Charges to individuals rose 37% between 2010 and 2016.
Over the same period, chrges for cemetery, cremation and mortuary services rose as well, increasing by almost 20% to £291m in 2015/16.
Commenting on the findings, John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said:
“These are considerable rate rises which will hit residents in England hard.
In many instances people are being asked to pay more for services that have actually been reduced, such as fortnightly bin collections.
Councils should ensure that they cut out all wasteful spending before asking taxpayers to pay big fees on top of their Council Tax bill.”
However, the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents local authorities in the UK, has defended councils’ records, pointing to the increased financial pressures from central Government.
Cllr Claire Kober, chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) resources board, said:
“This report clearly shows that councils receive almost £500m less in income from fees and charges than they did five years ago.
Faced with escalating costs and unprecedented funding cuts since 2010, this is a tremendous effort by councils to keep fees and charges low for hard-pressed residents.”
Cllr Kober added that the ‘bigger picture’ was that councils face an overall £5.8bn funding gap by 2020.