December 5 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 8, 2012
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles today announced £450m government plans to freeze council tax for the third year in a row.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has announced £450m government plans to freeze council tax for the third year in a row.
This newspaper will tomorrow reveal which councils in Norfolk and Suffolk hope to take Mr Pickles up on the offer, which will see councils which freeze their share of the council tax receiving a grant in return.
Critics have said such a move will not help local councils struggling to find ways to avoid making cuts to vital services.
Suffolk County Council has already announced there will be a tax freeze in its share and our reporters have asked 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.”
• See Tuesday’s EDP and Norwich Evening News for more details of the proposed council tax freeze.