Mr Keymer made this challenge at a meeting last week of the central local partnership at which senior local government members met government ministers including John Prescott and Nick Raynsford. At the meeting Mr Keymer called the increases 'destabilising' and criticised the government for failing to acknowledge its own role in the enormous increases. Even though the government knew the real reasons behind the increases, ministers had consistently attacked local government for the rises while failing to admit that the problem had been made very much worse by government grant changes and additional costly government impositions on local government.
'These huge council tax increases are causing great distress to our residents. Already we have seen fringe parties like the BNP using these increases to boost their campaigns. The government must recognise the damage it is doing and immediately abandon its centralising, bureaucratic and costly policies that are hitting council taxpayers hard. Otherwise we face more swingeing and unbearable council tax rises in the future.'