FAMILIES will be clobbered with council tax hikes within weeks as three in four authorities plan to raise rates by the maximum five per cent.
Cash-strapped town halls are planning to hit residents despite the cost-of-living crisis.
Research shows 84 out of 114 councils that have declared their proposals intend to increase the charge by the legal limit.
It means the average band D family will be charged £99 more a year.
Campaigners last night warned it was “the last thing hard-pressed households need”.
From April, councils can increase the tax by 4.99 per cent after Jeremy Hunt raised the cap to help plug holes left by double-digit inflation.
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Analysis by the County Councils Network shows all bar one authority will raise council tax this year, with three-quarters hitting the ceiling.
But town hall chiefs warn even big council tax increases will not be enough to pull their budgets out of the red.
Hampshire County Council will still face a £57.7million deficit and Durham a £10.2million one, putting the strain on public services.
But councils were last night told to slash wasteful spending before stinging struggling families.
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Elliot Keck of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “Surging council tax bills are the last thing hard-pressed households need.
"With the cap on rate rises lifted, local authorities have been given the green light to charge taxpayers for another year of wasteful spending and princely pay packets.”
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