HUNDREDS of voluntary groups are being urged to back Hart's protest at government plans which could force a whopping 28.1% council tax rise.

Council leader Robert Benford has written to groups which receive council assistance asking them to support Operation Hart Broke, the fight against plans to reorganise local government finance which could cost Hart £600,000.

"Every aspect of Hart's provision of services and support for the community and for residents could be harmed by this," he warned.

"I am appealing to all the voluntary organisations to join us in this battle to let the government know exactly how hard its proposals could hit everyone who lives here."

New plans to change local government financing could mean that Hart is one of just six authorities nationwide to suffer enormous local tax increases.

"Hart's position is the worst in the country," said Cllr Benford.

"It is the only council in the UK to have received no Government Support Grant for four years.

"Government initiatives have been responsible for the 27% council tax increase which residents faced this year.

"If the latest plans go through residents could see council tax bills go up by 55% in 12 months."

Cllr Benford warned: "This is a big battle.

"It is obviously very much in the interests of the voluntary groups to work with us and we hope we can work together as a successful team."