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Residents and hard pressed families will be relieved that the majority of councils are intending to make their cost of living a little easier by taking up the Government's council tax freeze offer, Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said today

Over 300 councils in England are planning to freeze or reduce council tax next year according to public information compiled by the Department. Around 80 per cent of authorities have so far signaled an intention to freeze or reduce next year.

Three authorities previously thought to be increasing council tax have now signaled they will freeze: Brighton and Hove, Taunton Deane and Scarborough. Eight authorities have indicated they will cut council tax in cash terms. They are Hammersmith and Fulham, South Oxfordshire, Stratford-on-Avon, Tendring, Windsor and Maidenhead, South Holland, Brentwood and the Greater London Authority.

Council tax bills more than doubled between 1997and 2011. Last year's freeze saved households up to an estimated £72 on a Band D bill, and this year's freeze could potentially do the same.

This is the second year the Government has offered to freeze council tax for local residents, families and pensioners. It builds on the offer taken up by all councils last year boosting what they could get over four years to £3.3 billion if they hold council tax for a second year.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles said:

"With two weeks to go, we now know that the majority of councils, over 300 in fact, want to freeze bills for their residents in tough times. Not everyone has set out their budget plans yet so I expect to see those taking up the Government's freeze deal to climb further.

"A minority of out of touch authorities that seem unwilling to accept our offer should face up to the fact that it is unnecessary and it will hit hardworking households in the pocket. Residents will spot that many neighbouring councils are able to offer to freeze.

"After 1997 bills were allowed to double to around £120 a month - freezing council tax again is a very tangible way to show the public they'll get the help they need."


Written by Scott Buckler
Monday, 27 February 2012 16:04

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