An average Council Tax rise of 3.5% is estimated as a result of a Local Government Association survey of 140 councils. This compares to the inflation rate at the moment of 3% by the Retail Price Index (or 4.1% by the Government’s preferred measure of the Consumer Price Index.) This increase would take the average Council Tax bill to £1,421. Eric Pickles says its a "kick in the teeth."

One point to consider is that the inflation rate is expected to slow this year. (New monthly figures are due out tomorrow.) So Councils claiming to be only increasing the Council Tax in line with inflation rather than in "real terms" may well have trouble sustaining this case in April when the inflation rate (or inflation rates) are rather lower than they are now.