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No! That's what 81% of you said in Argus council tax rise referendum
The Argus gave you, the readers, the chance to have your say on a proposed 4.75% council tax increase and you have responded in your thousands.
And today we can reveal that the poll has returned an overwhelming no against a proposed council tax rise, which would have to be voted through by city residents in a referendum.
In total, by post, online and on the streets, 6,591 or 81% were against a rise and 1,533 or 19% were in favour.
Of the 5,043 votes cast on our website since we launched the poll on January 21, a staggering 72% of votes registered were against such an increase, which would see council tax rises of between £2.83 and £10.19 per month, depending on the value of residents’ homes.
Of our online votes, 2,264 unique users voted against the proposed 4.75% rise and 853 voted in favour. When multiple votes from distinct browsers were taken into account, the figures were 1433 for and 3610 against.
We are using the multiple votes, as the ratio hardly differs and it is possible more than one person used the same browser to vote.
Through the postbag, the response against the council tax increase was even more overwhelming, with the no voters outnumbering the yes voters by 25-to-one.
In total, The Argus received 305 no votes by Friday, compared to just 12 yes votes.
Accompanying these votes were several strongly-worded letters which expressed the strength of feeling against the proposed rise.
Paul Davies, from Portslade, wrote: “This Green council has to be the worst in my lifetime. How can they expect people to find the extra money, they live in cloud cuckoo land.”
And one letter showed the danger that the unpopularity of the council tax rise could have not only on Green council figures but on the country’s only Green MP as well.
One anonymous reader wrote: “How does this Caroline Lucas expect us pensioners of 73 and 80 years old to find the extra?
“We’ve had no rise in pensions for ages.”
The total votes cast by people we asked on the streets of Brighton and Hove was 412 no and 88 yes.
Meanwhile, papers released on Friday saw several notable changes to the Green administration’s proposed budget for 2014/15.
The added income from a 4.75% council tax increase compared to a 2% council tax increase and other newly identified savings would mean reprieves for adult social care and disabled work schemes in the city.
In November, Brighton and Hove City Council’s minority Green administration outlined a proposed budget with a 2% council tax rise and proposed cuts to adult care and disabled worker schemes.
Two months later in a shock announcement, new budget details were revealed for a 4.75% rise.
Under Government rules, any proposed increase of above 2% would require a public referendum to vote on it.
The Argus launched its own poll in the days following the Green announcement and last Thursday we held a council tax debate in Hove Town Hall with the city’s three political leaders answering questions from Argus readers and the gathered audience.
Newly revised budget papers were issued on Friday and these final budget proposals will be discussed at the cross-party policy and resources committee meeting on Thursday.
If agreed, all budget amendments must be “signed off” by finance officers no later than noon on Monday, February 24, and would then go to a full council meeting for final ratification by all councillors three days later.
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