Plans to hike Luton Borough Council tax precept for the fourth year running provokes anger

Plans to hike Luton Borough Council’s tax precept for the 16th time in 18 years have been met with scorn.

On Monday LBC members will vote on whether to agree to a proposed 1.5% rise, which would net the council an extra £857,000 annually.

Despite LBC being offered a government freeze grant of £719k, it is set to reject the offer and push ahead plans for a tax hike.

In a budget report the hike is said to be preferable as “the level of additional income that can be achieved is greater than that achievable from taking the tax freeze grant.”

It adds: “Given the ongoing reductions required in the council’s budget, a tax freeze strategy will require substantially more savings than a strategy of ongoing tax increases.”

The proposed hike has angered taxpayers across the town.

Roger Fensome commented: “What the hell do our views matter, they will still raise it anyway. Only action that would count is to vote this bunch of useless wasters OUT!”

Keith Mason said: “Time to review what it is being spent on, too many others still freezing. Luton keep putting it up.”

Twitter user @CollyWhy added: “(This is) strange given most councils have managed to freeze for 4 years without substantial airport income & large surplus.”

Several others took aim at the ongoing costs of the Luton-Dunstable Busway.

Andrew Collon told us: “We don’t even get an election year bribe now.

“How much of that will be wasted on more hare-brained traffic schemes?”

Ajvat Khan said: “Why doesn’t LBC cut internal costs first, followed by the busway.

“Any further hikes by LBC and Olly Martins won’t help the poor.”

The proposed 1.5% hike would see the overall council tax bill go up by £22.88 a year for Band D homeowners.

Since 1998-99 LBC has increased its council tax precept 15 times.

The budget report indicates further rises to come.

It states: “The high levels of revenue support grant reduction have a very significant impact on the council.

“This means that the council needs to be prepared to make major savings and increase its income on an ongoing basis.”

The council’s government revenue support grant (including top ups) has dropped by £26.5m in two years.

n What do you make of LBC’s proposal? Email adam.parrislong@jpress.co.uk or call 01582 798505