Today The Argus launches its referendum on how much council tax you think you should be paying.

This week the Prime Minister criticised Brighton and Hove City Council over its plans to increase council tax by 3.5%.

It means the authority will miss out on £3 million of Government money handed to councils freezing tax.

But the Green administration claims the payment will only be a short term fix and will lead to much higher tax rises further down the line.

We want to know what you really think about council tax.

Would you like to see council tax frozen and Government funding worth the equivalent of a 2.5% council tax rise given to the council?

Or the 3.4% rise the Greens are proposing?

That would mean between £17 million and £20 million of savings will still have to be found.

Or how about a 5% increase with the equivalent reduction in savings to be found elsewhere?

Tax bands

An average Band D property currently pays £1,482 in council tax.

A 3.5% rise would see this go up by about £51 per household and a 5% rise about £74.

Hove MP Mike Weatherely said: “The Argus referendum on the Green council tax rise is a brilliant idea.

"It's a fun way of highlighting the fact that those who pay tax during this time of austerity do not have bottomless pockets.”

Labour leader Gill Mitchell said: “It's a fantastic idea to let the public have their say on what increase in council tax they should expect.

"I'm very concerned about the 3.5% rise at a time when people are struggling to make ends meet.

“They will be facing this increase at the same time as £20 million of cuts including parking charges going up.

“But to have an informed debate about what should be done to balance the books we need to see the budget.

"I look forward to seeing those details and looking at the best way of going forward with minimum impact on the pockets of hardworking tax payers.”


Councillor Jason Kitcat, cabinet member for finance, said: “I welcome having a conversation about the budget. That is exactly why we released details of what we are looking at for the next two years.

“The problem is that the Government still hasn't announced what its cap on council tax increases will be.

"Last year it was 3.5% and we assume that's what it will be this time too.

“For readers to take part in this poll they need to understand that this is a one-off council tax freeze and accepting it could mean having to increase council tax much more in years to come.”

How to take part

There are a number of ways to have your say in The Argus referendum.

Here is the question:

What is more important to you - to keep council tax as low as possible or to minimise the cuts on public services?

The Argus referendum lets you have your say on Brighton and Hove City Council's proposals to increase council tax by 3.5%.

If council tax was frozen the authority would benefit from Government funding equivalent to a 2.5% increase but the Greens say it would lead to higher council tax increases in future.

The Government has not yet said at what level it will cap council tax increases.

This means the council could potentialy be allowed to increase council tax to 5% or maybe beyond.

In light of this, would you prefer:

a) no council tax increase?

b) a 3.5% rise?

c) a 5% rise?

You can fill in the coupon inside today's Argus and send in your response to: Send your reply to James Wallin, Argus House, Crowhurst Road, Hollingbury, Brighton, BN1 8AR.

Text votes can be accepted by sending a text with the word SUPIC then your answer to 80360.

You can also join the debate on twitter by using the hashtag #bhref.

And join in with the poll below.

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