Council tax bills to rise by three times inflation

Householders were warned yesterday that council tax bills in England will rise by an average 6.2 per cent in the coming year, nearly three times the rate of inflation.

Householders were warned yesterday that council tax bills in England will rise by an average 6.2 per cent in the coming year, nearly three times the rate of inflation.

The average council tax for a band D home will be £847. In shire areas the average will be £843, in London £778 and in the metropolitan areas £919.

Archie Norman, shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, blamed the rises on the Government for reducing support to councils. "In three years, the average band D council tax has risen by £150," he said. "This is proof that Labour tax more and deliver less."

The rises in council tax - which take the average charge for all homes to £697 in 2000-2001 - came as ministers prepared public opinion for heavy Labour losses in the local elections next month.

A leaked letter from Hilary Armstrong, the Local Government minister, was seen as evidence of panic in Labour ranks at the expected backlash from "heartlands" supporters. It said the Education Secretary, David Blunkett, and the Health Secretary, Alan Milburn, will be sent to drum up support in key towns. Labour spin-doctors have been playing up the scale of the likely losses in town halls across the country in an attempt to dampen the shock of the defeat, which could see several councils change hands.

Party sources said Labour could lose 700 seats in the local elections, and the Tories are almost certain to take control of "hung" councils in Solihull, Cheltenham, Cherwell, Eastbourne and Southend-on-Sea.

Labour could lose control of Bradford, Oldham, Trafford and Walsall among the Metropolitan areas, and Basildon, Worcester and Crewe in the shires.

Liberal Democrats are expected to do well in their target areas, including Kirklees in West Yorkshire, but they could lose Stockport, Herefordshire and Torbay to no overall control, if the Tories make gains.

Labour strategists fear a low turn-out by Labour supporters and a swing back to the Conservatives of seats won by Labour in 1996 - 12 months before John Major's government was thrown out of office. "We want to get turn-out up in places like Rotherham and Merseyside but, short of driving people out of their homes with a stick, it's going to be difficult," said a party spokesman.

Labour leaders made clear that they do not believe a Tory revival in the local elections will point to a general election defeat for Labour.

The party spokesman said: "We had a fantastic result four years ago but there is a major disparity between what happens locally and what happens nationally. There has been political turbulence but the idea that if we lose 400 seats we will lose the general election is cobblers. We are saying the onus is on the Tories to fight back."

The local elections will be held in all 36 metropolitan districts, 27 of the 46 unitary authorities and 89 of the 238 shire districts. Labour will be defending a total of 1,713 seats out of a total 3,337, with the Liberal Democrats on 740 and the Tories on 711.

* TBWA, the advertising agency with the accounts for the Sony PlayStation, Pretty Polly, and NatWest bank has won the contract to run Labour's general election advertising campaign. Its past successes include the PlayStation cyber-pixie "Fi-Fi".

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsSchool leaver's YouTube video features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain