Green leader of Brighton and Hove rules out council tax referendum

Posted On 25 Jul 2013 at 6:23 pm

The leader of Brighton and Hove City Council has ruled out the prospect of holding a referendum on any proposed council tax increase.

Councillor Jason Kitcat was speaking during a webcast interview with Greg Hadfield, editorial director of the Brighton and Hove Independent.

The Green Party leader called on the government to allow councils like Brighton and Hove to have more freedom to raise money from taxes.

He said: “Council tax is a very poor form of taxation. It’s not particularly fair.”

Council repairs

He said that he was concerned about the impact of the council tax on what he described as the working poor.

The government is again putting pressure on local authorities to freeze council tax with those setting an increase above a certain threshold forced to hold a referendum.

But Councillor Kitcat said: “The referendum rule is mad. It’s not really workable and would cost about £300,000 to run.”

And in any case, Councillor Kitcat said, it would be held after council tax bills were sent out possibly leading to fresh bills being printed and posted.

He said that even the Electoral Commission had been critical of the referendum process in relation to council tax rises.

Last year Brighton and Hove led the campaign to be allowed to put up council tax. The council agreed an increase marginally below the threshold that required a referendum to be held.

The Greens are a minority administration though and will require the agreement or abstention of councillors from other parties to pass their proposed budget.

For more from the interview, see the Brighton and Hove Independent tomorrow (Friday 26 July).