I have given lots of attention to the small number of councils who are planning Council Tax rises in the coming financial year. But the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles points out that far more are planning to freeze or cut the Council Tax. So far 152 councils have signalled this intention to his Department.

Of course the final decisions come from full council meetings where all councillors vote on the budget – I don't think we have had any of those for this year yet but they will soon be coming thick and fast. It is reasonable to predict that the vast majority of Labour, and Lib Dem councils as well as Conservative ones will sign up for freeze. This will leave the handful that don't fully exposed to the anger of their hard pressed local residents.

Eric Pickles says:

“I would like to congratulate the 150 or so local authorities, which have already signalled their intent to freeze or cut council tax this year.

"This will be welcome news for many council tax payers’ who’ve seen their bills double since 1997.

“It is very early in the budget setting process, and I would fully expect this number to increase significantly over the next few weeks.

“Every councillor still to decide has an obligation to keep the living costs of their residents down and take the freeze money. A vote against a freeze is a vote for a punitive tax-rise when typical bill are already around £120 a month.“