On the morning of the Budget, official Government figures (see table 6) today reveal that council tax has been frozen this year, thanks to the new Government’s council tax freeze initiative. This means a real terms cut in council tax bills for hard-working families and pensioners. Conservatives today warned that council tax would have soared further if Labour had remained in office.
Indeed some Conservative councils have actually managed to cut the Council Tax very slightly. Windsor and Maidenhead by 0.5%. Tendring by 0.5%. East Staffordshire by 1.9%. Basildon by 0.2%. Conservatives in Thurrock managed to force through a Council Tax cut without even controlling the council.
Council tax doubled under Labour but frozen under Coalition: Under Labour, council tax bills in England hit a record £1,439 a year on Band D homes last April. Bills more than doubled under Labour (+109%). Yet this year, the change in council tax bills across England will be just 0.0% – and bills will remain at £1,439.
Labour would have imposed yet more hikes: In Government, Labour Ministers opposed a council tax freeze. In Opposition, Labour Shadow Ministers continue to oppose the council tax freeze. On top of the freeze, the new Government has also cancelled Labour’s plans for a council tax revaluation in England, which would have meant soaring bills for millions of homes. The new Government’s Localism Bill will also give local residents new rights to veto high council tax rises.
Families to save up to £288 over 4 years: Despite the need to pay off Labour’s deficit, councils are being given an extra £2.5 billion of central funding to support the freeze in 2011-12 over the Spending Review period. This will stop council tax soaring next year after the one-year freeze. Compared to a 5% rise (the last Government’s typical capping limit in recent years), a freeze will save an average family up to £72 a year on a Band D home. Over four years, this lower rate of council tax is worth up to £288.
Conservative councils cost you less: Analysis of today’s figures show that Conservative councils continue to provide lower levels of council tax than Labour or Liberal Democrat councils. Averaged across tiers, Conservative-controlled councils charge £43 a year less than Labour-controlled councils on a Band D home, and £114 a year less than Liberal Democrat-controlled councils.
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:
“Under Labour, your council tax doubled and bills would have gone through the roof yet again had Labour clung to power. Labour oppose the council tax freeze and would have given a green light to yet more council tax hikes. By contrast, the new Government has frozen council tax, scrapped Labour’s council tax revaluation and will give residents new rights to veto excessive council tax rises in the future.
“Conservative councils deliver lower council tax and are making sensible savings to do their bit to pay off Labour’s budget deficit. Ed Miliband’s councils are revelling in politically motivated and cynical cuts to frontline services, and continue to charge more on council tax bills because they are badly run.”