Brighton and Hove City Council is set to let the people decide by holding a referendum on a proposed council tax rise of 4.75%.

The Green-led minority administration announced the move as it looks to balance the books in the face of government cuts.

Under government rules, town halls across the country cannot increase council tax by more than 2% without triggering a local referendum.

Up until now, the local authority had been working to a rise of 1.96% for the 2014/15 financial year.


But by announcing a planned rise of 4.75%, everyone of the city’s 275,000 residents will be asked if they support the move.

It is the first local authority in the country to announce such a move, which finance chiefs claim will cost £230,000.

Council leader Jason Kitcat said: "The coalition’s cuts mean we cannot deliver the services we were elected to provide and which our consciences say we should provide.  We have no choice but to seek the views of local people on funding these services through a tax increase.

"Westminster's ideologically driven cuts to local councils are huge and relentless while demand for our services continues to grow. Vulnerable people who depend on our services are being threatened from Westminster like never before.

"We have so far been successful in saving tens of millions of pounds but we can no longer find enough efficiencies to absorb all the cuts. Without today's proposal, I fear for the serious impacts on the most vulnerable in our city from the coalition's cuts."

The rise, which has been supported unanimously by the Green group of 21 councillors, would mean council tax for an average Band D property would increase by £5.97 a month.

For the budget to be passed, it would need the support of either the Conservative (18 members) or Labour (14) groups.

A consultation on the budget is currently ongoing with a final decision to be made by all 54 councillors at a meeting on February 27.

For full reaction and analysis of the announcement see The Argus tomorrow.