I have paid a lot of attention to the cynical decision of some councils (including a few rogue Conservative local authorities) to take the cynical decision to put the Council Tax up this but dodge a referendum. There is nothing localist about denying local residents the chance to decide.
On the bright side the Department for Communities and Local Government have published a list of 306 councils that have agreed to freeze or cut Council Tax.
Among those freezing are Cumbria, Aylesbury Vale, Brighton and Hove, Taunton Deane and Scarborough who had all been earlier reported as planning increases.
The DCLG has also published an Excel document showing how much extra grant each council recieves if it does not increase Council Tax.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says:
"With two weeks to go, we now know that the majority of councils, over 300 in fact, want to freeze bills for their residents in tough times. Not everyone has set out their budget plans yet so I expect to see those taking up the Government’s freeze deal to climb further.
"A minority of out of touch authorities that seem unwilling to accept our offer should face up to the fact that it is unnecessary and it will hit hardworking households in the pocket. Residents will spot that many neighbouring councils are able to offer to freeze.
“After 1997 bills were allowed to double to around £120 a month – freezing council tax again is a very tangible way to show the public they’ll get the help they need.”