Votes for The Argus referendum on a planned council tax rise of 4.75% are flooding in.
Brighton and Hove City Council’s minority Green administration revealed its proposal for a 4.75% council tax rise for 2014/15 last week.
It claimed the move, which works out as an increase of £5 a month for a Band D household, would help it preserve services such as care for the elderly and refuse collections in the face of government cuts.
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But a stalemate has been created with the Conservatives backing a freeze while Labour appear committed to a 2% rise – the most allowed without holding a city-wide referendum costing £230,000.
With the budget not being set until a council meeting on February 27 The Argus launched its own poll asking if people would pay an extra 4.75% to protect local services.
Just two days after opening, hundreds have had their say.
So far more than 2,000 unique users have voted on our website – with latest results showing 600 voting yes (27%) and 1,590 voting no (73%).
About 50 forms have also been received through the post.
Among them was Zoe Polydorou, of Charlotte Street, Brighton, who after voting no, said: “I am a single person, living in a studio. I am astonished that my council tax is £75 a month.
“I am constantly aware of my expenditure and keep my spending to a minimum – I am actually extremely efficient.
“The council needs to take a leaf out of my book.”
John Penfold, of Whitehawk Road, Brighton, said: “How can the Greens take such a big chance of a smack in the face?”
It comes as a letter from a number of high-profile figures was published in a national newspaper in support to the Green council’s referendum call.
The letter, whose signatories include Labour’s Baroness Ruth Lister, Chair of Compass Neil Lawson and John Hilary, the executive director of War on Want, described the referendum as a “bold commitment to democracy and equality”.
It added: “Everyone is feeling squeezed as a result of the Tories' draconian cuts to local government and public services, but a political contest over which party will manage austerity more effectively won't change the terms of debate.”
Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “The growing support for our social care referendum proposals show that it is a |principled and forward-thinking approach.
“The huge pressure on our social care services means now is the time for the people decide whether they support a 4.75% council tax rise to support our city's most vulnerable through the next few years of severe government cuts.”