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Lowest council tax rises in England since 1993 could cause problems for waste collections

Council tax in England for the financial year 2010/11 is expected to rise by the lowest percentage since 1993, according to a new survey.

However, this news has been met with concern from some quarters who are worried that such small increases in council tax will place financial strain on local authorities and force subsequent cuts to frontline services such as waste collections.

The survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Finance and Accountancy in conjunction with the BBC shows that England will see an average rise of 1.8% for the Band D bill.

This means an average council tax bill in England will be around £1,438.72. Scottish councils are expected to maintain a council tax freeze while Welsh authorities are expected to raise the Band D average bill by around 3.6%.

CIPFA head of policy Ian Carruthers said: This 1.8% rise demonstrates that local politicians have generally heeded Government calls to avoid large increases.

However, councils will be facing increasing financial pressures in the coming years, which could result in cuts in some services.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: The human cost of keeping council tax down is huge. It means hitting frontline services hard.

However, the Local Government Association does not share this sentiment. LGA vice-chairman Sir Jeremy Beecham said: Everyone is facing a squeeze on their finances in the current economic climate and no one likes paying council tax. That is why councils have been doing all they can to keep council tax rises to a minimum.

Councils have had to take tough decisions to carefully balance the need to protect essential frontline services while providing value for money for the taxpayer.

Local authorities understand that money is tight for everyone and deserve credit for keeping council tax rises lower than ever before.

The LGA also believes that these low rises in council tax will not mean that local authorities will need to cut back on refuse collection or waste services.

An LGA spokesman said: Councils have a duty to pick up bins and recession or no recession they will continue to do so.

Councils are aware that investment in waste services is important in order to avoid landfill taxes so they will be very reluctant to spend less on those areas.  

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