Communities Secretary Eric Pickles today (22 February 2013) praises all 219 councils adopting a ‘can-do’ attitude to freezing their Council Tax for residents.
Latest government figures (Excel 30KB) published today that show that 219 councils are intending to accept the government’s grant offer and freeze their Council Tax for 2013 to 2014.
The government has set aside £450 million for local government in England to freeze Council Tax in 2013 to 2014, which will be the third successive year in which a freeze scheme applies. In total the 3 freeze deals are worth potentially over £200 to a typical Band D resident.
A new local democracy referendum trigger now gives residents the means to protect against excessive rises, by ensuring that a local authority has to go to the polls if they decline the freeze offer worth an equivalent of a 1% rise and raise Council Tax above a 2% increase.
Mr Pickles said:
“I’m pleased that an increasing number of councils are taking up the government’s deal to freeze their residents’ Council Tax. I encourage all authorities still to decide to follow their example.
“Those that freeze bills are making a real difference to families and those on fixed incomes, such as pensioners, with their cost of living.”
All councils should be looking to make sensible savings to their budgets and follow every one of the 50 ways to save that was published by the government in December 2012.
English councils budgeted to spend £114.5 billion in 2013 to 2014, accounting for a quarter of all public spending, which means they have a role to play reducing the inherited deficit.
A recent survey by pollsters Ipsos MORI has found that 64% of voters are not happy to pay more Council Taxes and 65% of those surveyed have not noticed any changes to the quality of council services since the reductions in council funding (Ipsos MORI press release, 30 January 2013).