The new government has softened plans to introduce a nationwide council tax freeze.
Rather than providing funding to allow councils to keep rates at their present level for the next two years, the government will now provide funding for a one-year freeze “and seek to freeze it for a further year”.
The change was revealed in the full coalition agreement unveiled by the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration on Thursday morning.
In 2008, the Conservatives pledged that any council that could limit council tax rises to 2.5% for two years, would be given sufficient funding to turn that rise into a freeze.
Other Conservative policies confirmed in the agreement include:
- Referenda to go ahead in the 12 largest English cities to introduce an elected mayor
- The Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) to be abolished
- Councillors to vote on large salary packages for chief executives
Responding to the confirmation of the CAA’s impending demise, the Audit Commission said: “Awaiting details, the Commission will work with the government and other inspectorates on how to increase accountability for local public services through more transparency, richer data and less inspection. The Commission is considering proposals for immediate redeployment of staff into work that will help audited and inspected bodies meet the financial challenge.”