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Town Halls Asked To Help Freeze Council Tax This Year

Eric Pickles has called on councils to take up the offer of additional central government funding to help freeze Council Tax this year

Published on 05 February 2014

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by The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP


London, England

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Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, today (5 February 2014) called on councils to take up the offer of additional central government funding to help freeze Council Tax this year.

Since 2010, the government has worked with local authorities to reduce the cost of living by freezing Council Tax, cutting average bills in England by 10% in real terms. This compares to a period between 1997 and 2010, when council tax more than doubled.

A further freeze offer is on offer this year and next, and was announced by the Chancellor in June 2013. The government is providing up to £550 million in extra Whitehall grants, to each local authority that freezes their bills from this April.

New figures published today to help residents see what their council is planning, reveal that 137 authorities have already indicated they will accept the government’s offer of extra funding. The figures also show each council’s track record since 2010. Final decisions from all local authorities will be known next month.

In a boost to direct democracy, any local authority that chooses to raise Council Tax by 2% or above must put it to a public vote said Mr Pickles. This threshold is lower than last year striking an appropriate balance between direct democracy and representative democracy ensuring local people have a democratic check over tax hikes through a binding local referendum. Local referendums could be held on the same day as the European elections on 22 May at minimal extra cost or inconvenience.

To further local accountability, from this year, every vote cast by councillors on Council Tax and budgets should be made a matter of public record and allow residents to see where elected officials have voted with their best interests at heart. Mr Pickles also encouraged the public to take to Twitter and express their #freezeplease views to their local council today.

Mr Pickles said:

"Council Tax bills more than doubled, pushing the typical bill to a £120 a month from hard-working people and pensioners. Council Tax became a big worry for those trying to balance family budgets. This government has been working to give families greater financial security, taking action to keep Council Tax down.

"We have given extra funding to town halls to help freeze Council Tax and handed local residents new rights to veto big local tax hikes, so local people have the final say on the amount they pay.

"Since 2010, Council Tax bills have been cut by 10% in real terms across England and people haven’t been facing the threat of soaring bills. I would urge councils to take up the offer of additional funding to help freeze Council Tax this year to help their residents with the cost of living."


For more information about this press release including contact details visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/town-halls-asked-to-help-freeze-council-tax-this-year



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Posted 2014-02-05 16:36:00