According to a survey conducted by the Sunday Telegraph, at least 30 Conservative-led local authorities are planning to reject demands to freeze council tax rates this year. The paper claims they are among 60 across England that say they intend to increase bills from April - including almost half of the country's 27 county councils. Eric Pickles said residents should “demand an explanation” if councils refused the freeze. The communities secretary accused some of being "democracy dodgers" for planning to push up rates by 1.99%, shy of the 2% threshold at which they would have to hold a referendum. The paper surveyed all 353 of England's councils about their 2015-16 council tax bills. Of the 262 that responded, only four said that they were preparing to reduce their levies, while 116 were planning to go along with the request to freeze rates. Lincolnshire County Council is planning a rise of 1.9% on a Band D bill - the first time it has increased rates since the freeze four years ago. Other councils planning to increase their share of tax include Oxfordshire, which said its budget included an "assumption" of a 1% rise but that councillors may opt for 1.99%. Buckinghamshire is planning an increase of 1.99%, or £21.77 a year on a Band D bill.
The Sunday Telegraph,
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