The Daily Telegraph reports this morning:
About 115 councils, out of 351 in England, have confirmed that they will freeze council tax in April.
This compares with 99 per cent of councils in 2011 and 85 per cent last year.
Contrary to this implication this does not mean that 236 councils will be putting up the Council Tax. Firstly, most councils have not yet declared their plans. The Local Government Chronicle's rolling blog (£) of announcements lists only 17 as planning rises so far.
Secondly, some of those proposing a rise may not proceed with it. A proposal requires a vote at a full councils meeting, with a majority of all the elected councillors, in order to become reality. For instance this was how the Green Party minority administration in Brighton and Hove had their tax rising plans scuppered last year.
There are also Conservative councils who first reaction might be to rubber stamp a proposal from their bureaucrats for a tax rise – but then be obliged to reconsider after some discussions with their Conservative groups.
Another factor that may prompt them to think again is an article from the Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles.
This indicates that councils that seek to put up Council Tax just below the 2% threshold for a referendum will be penalised next year. Quite right to. Nobody will believe that a Council is proposing a rise of 1.99% as that just happens to be the amount needed. They are mocking their residents by seeking to take more of their money without their consent.