114 town halls and police authorities have accepted the Department of Communities and Local Government offer of more money to freeze rates. Some of these have even managed to reduce rates. While it's not ideal that taxpayers' money has to be used to 'fund' a tax freeze, it will be a welcome relief for those on tight budgets, It's a good start too, and since a number of councils have not yet declared their intentions, we cannot tell what the final proportion will be. But we hope that Councils do what they can to protect taxpayers.
The number of councils who are putting up rates by 1.99% - just below 2%, which would trigger a local referendum - continues to grow, as does local opposition. As has been shown by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, among others, council tax cuts while maintaining frontline services are possible. Local campaigners in Darlington have started a petition against the 1.99% increase, noting that even a band A home would be paying more than £1,000 per year.
In the coming weeks, we at the TaxPayers’ alliance will be holding local campaigns against tax hikes. Councils have to work as hard as possible to deliver value-for-money and any service that is not essential should be scrapped. 8 local authorities are cutting Council Tax and others should look to them for inspiration.