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Cooper slams Tory council tax 'con'

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Yvette Cooper has slammed George Osborne's pledge to freeze council tax as a ‘con’.

Responding to the shadow chancellor of the exchequer’s speech at Tory party conference today, the chief secretary to the Treasury said: "George Osborne's council tax pledge is a con - it could only be introduced if local councils make big cuts in public services. They have failed to set out where any savings would come from.”

"Just as George Osborne is talking nonsense on banking, he is talking nonsense on the public finances too."

Chris Leslie, director of the New Local Government Network, said that Mr Osborne’s proposal would not fix the inherent problems of the council tax.

He said: “Council tax is broken and it needs urgent attention. We need more detail from George Osborne on where exactly the savings would come from to pay for this council tax freeze. Efficiency drives have targeted 'consultancy' budgets before but with little success.

"It is also impossible to say which councils could participate in such a 'deal' with the government without knowing the central grant settlement figures for these years in the future.

"All political parties need to be much bolder on council tax and local government finance reform. Until councils have alternative revenue sources to take pressure off their residents, the risk of continued unfairness persists."

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