Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Two-Year Council Tax Freeze, Vows Osborne; CONSERVATIVE PARTY CONFERENCE

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Two-Year Council Tax Freeze, Vows Osborne; CONSERVATIVE PARTY CONFERENCE

Article excerpt

SHADOW Chancellor George Osborne yesterday pledged a Tory Government would freeze council tax for two years.

But council bosses immediately dismissed the promise as half-baked populism, criticised the plan for interfering with local government and questioned how the move would be funded.

The surprise move would save a typical Band D household more than pounds 200, with town halls pegging tax rises to 2.5% or below getting extra Whitehall funding.

Mr Osborne said cash would be found from savings in central consultancy and advertising budgets to pay for a 2.5% cut in council tax, effectively cancelling out any increase.

Qualifying councils would also need to make savings, but could freeze or cut bills for two years. Councils rejecting the deal could set their own tax levels, subject to a possible local referendum if they wanted "excessive" rises.

The cost of the scheme has been estimated at pounds 500m in the first year and pounds 1bn in subsequent years after it was unveiled at the Conservative conference in Birmingham.

Mr Osborne said: "The country may not be able to afford upfront tax cuts because borrowing is too high, but families facing the squeeze cannot afford tax rises either.

So we're going to go into partnership with local councils.

"If they find matching savings in their town hall, we will give them these savings from Whitehall."

To cheers, he said: "The next Conservative Government will freeze your council tax for at least two years.

"Every council tax bill of every family in every council that takes part will be frozen.

"Instead of council tax bills that rise year after year, under Labour, millions of families will get help at the time that they need it most.

"Conservatives will not leave people to struggle with the credit crunch alone. We won't walk on by. We will help families over this crisis. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.