A COUNCIL tax rise has not been ruled out according to Isle of Wight Council deputy leader Steve Stubbings, just a week after Independents proposed a freeze.
The recommendation to freeze council tax for another year was included in budget plans drawn up by the ruling Independent Group, published last Friday.
But, at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee last night (Thursday), Cllr Steve Stubbings said they would be "open to the suggestion" of a near two per cent rise, when a decision was made at the budget-setting meeting on February 26.
His comments came after committee chairman, Cllr Geoff Lumley, urged a re-think.
He said: "With a £28 million gap to fill over the next three years, it is going to look a little odd to Islanders that their council tax is going to be frozen again next year.
"Do you not feel it is appropriate to increase it up to the two per cent? It seems to me that the council, all 40 of us, are not getting it through to people how bad things could be in three years time."
As previously reported by the County Press, increasing council tax by 1.99 per cent — the 'cap' set by government — would result in a net gain of around £521,000.
"Half-a-million might seem a small amount but there are proposals I have identified in the budget that could be removed because of that," said Cllr Lumley.