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Two fifths of councils reject freeze funding

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Two fifths of local authorities have opted to increase council tax this year and rejected the government’s freeze funding, according to official statistics published today.

Department for Communities & Local Government data shows that just 61% of authorities decided to take the funding, compared to the 90% who accepted the grant last year.

The official data confirms research carried out by LGC over the last few months that suggested the number of councils rejecting the government’s financial incentive would increase considerably.

LGA chair Sir Merrick Cockell said the “vast majority” of councils had frozen tax bills over the last two years and many would do so again this year.

However, he said the government’s freeze funding offer was “a short short-term one which does not address the huge long-term pressures facing councils, including bigger cuts than almost any other part of the public sector and an immediate and growing crisis in funding care for the elderly.

“Government has cut council funding by 33% and, with last week’s Budget signalling further cuts to come, local authorities have to consider the impact this will have on local services and the people who rely on them.”

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said council tax bills had fallen by almost 10% over the last three years.

“Council tax more than doubled under Labour,” he said. “But Conservatives in government have worked to freeze council tax for three years, helping hard-working families and pensioners with their cost of living.”

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