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Thanet council's UKIP administration is set to recommend a 3% council tax increase

By Paul Francis

Council taxpayers in Thanet face a 3% hike in their bills this year under draft proposals setting out the authority’s spending plans.

The council is the first in Kent to confirm it is proposing to take up the option of adding an additional 1% on household bills.

The government raised the cap on increases to 3% this year in response to complaints from authorities that they were being shortchanged when it came to grants and faced spiralling pressures.

Thanet council offices

Thanet council offices

Most district and borough councils in Kent are expected to follow suit over the next few weeks.

The average council tax residents pay for services provided by Thanet now is £219.87 for homes in Band D - the average - but that will rise by £6.57.

Final bills will be significantly higher once the county council element and the police commissioner tax is included.

Councillor Chris Wells, leader of Thanet council

Councillor Chris Wells, leader of Thanet council

By setting an increase of 2.99%, the council will avoid the need to hold a referendum to get support for the increase.

Council leader Chris Wells (Ukip) said: “Nobody likes to pay more but we have no choice as the government has cut our grants."

A budget report says the costs of any referendum if the council wanted to break the cap would fall on the council.

It states: "To hold a referendum is a costly exercise to undertake, with estimates in excess of £50,000, and would have to come from the council’s budget. This means that other savings would have to be identified to fund it. In addition, the council would have to have justifiable cause to put to the electorate for what is regarded as an excessive increase."

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