Responding to the Local Government Association’s figures demonstrating that Local Authorities have seen a £4bn deficit in income over the last two years, Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

"Like businesses, councils are currently facing tough financial times and hard choices. These figures on local authority income are therefore no surprise.

"Local businesses and councils work well together in many parts of the country. But as budgets tighten, that partnership could be damaged if businesses are seen as a source of revenue to plug funding gaps.

"Additional local business taxes now would be a tax on recovery. Instead, councils should continue to seek out efficiency savings - much as the private sector is doing."

Tim Hutchings, Chief Executive of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said," I cannot imagine for one minute that authorities in this county would seek to decrease any deficit by introducing additional local taxes or charges. In the unlikely event that this occurred we would fight them most vociferously".