October 24 2014 Latest news:
Monday, October 8, 2012
Chancellor George Osborne has revealed how the government plans to freeze council tax for the third year in a row.
But critics have said such a move will not help local councils struggling to find ways to avoid making cuts to vital services.
At the Conservative conference in Birmingham, Mr Osborne announced that, for the third year in a row, councils which freeze their share of the council tax will get a grant from the government in return.
Suffolk County Council has already announced there will be a tax freeze in it’s share and our reporters are asking other councils in the region what their intentions are, which will be revealed in tomorrow’s newspapers.
But local government chiefs have already raised concerns about the proposals, warning it is taking power away from councils.
Responding to the proposal to extend the council tax freeze, chairman of the Local Government Association Sir Merrick Cockell said: “Any help for councils is a good thing, but we have to be clear that this is a short-term offer. It doesn’t address the huge long-term pressures councils are facing including bigger cuts than any other part of the public sector and an immediate and growing crisis in funding care for the elderly. Councils could now have to budget for a further future shortfall.
“It is only right that councils take a longer-term view on budget planning and that decisions on the level of council tax are made by councillors who will then rightly be held to account through the ballot box.
“Councils care for the elderly, look after vulnerable children and collect the bins from our streets and in order to carry on doing this effectively local authorities need local discretion to consider the long-term interests of their residents before deciding if they will take up this government offer.”
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