Today (30th January) Gloucestershire County Council released the results of its survey asking residents their views on the level of council tax increase for next year. Nearly 3000 people took part and, whilst the results were close, 56.7% opted for a council tax increase including extra money to pay for essential flood protection measures.

The survey used three methods: an online survey; a random phone poll; and a questionnaire to the council’s citizen panel. Participants were asked to vote for one of three council tax rise options, all of which included a base increase 3.8%, a figure below the current rate of RPI inflation and below next year’s percentage increase in the basic state pension.

Whilst Option 1 was the single biggest choice, an overall majority of people voted for either Option 2 or Option 3, in favour of some sort of extra levy to pay for flood prevention measures, such as improved drainage. The results also varied according to District. For example, a relatively large number of Tewkesbury residents favoured option 3 and the Forest of Dean had a high proportion of votes for option 1. This is probably due to the fact that these areas were the most and least affect affected by the flooding this summer.

The Cabinet will consider the results and make their decision at a special Budget Cabinet meeting on 6th February 2008.

Cllr Barry Dare, leader of the Council, says: “I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the survey. I really wanted to know what Gloucestershire people thought about this – and I am grateful that they took the time to let us know. I probably shouldn’t be surprised that the results are so close – this has always been a difficult issue. My Cabinet and I will now have to think very carefully about which option we now recommend to Council.”

Source: Gloucestershire County Council