Seven authorities have indicated they will cut council tax in cash terms. They are Hammersmith and Fulham, South Oxfordshire, Stratford-on-Avon, Tendring, Windsor and Maidenhead, Stratford-on-Avon, South Holland and the Greater London Authority.
Local Government Minister Bob Neill has now written to council leaders urging all councils to sign up to the freeze offer as ’an act of public service’ that ‘local residents will greatly appreciate’.
Council tax bills more than doubled since 1997 until last year’s freeze. The Government has set aside up to £675 million for local authorities in England to help keep council tax down. Last year’s freeze saved households up to Continue reading
Councils which have indicated they are going further and cutting council tax in cash terms include Hammersmith and Fulham, South Oxfordshire, Stratford-on-Avon, Tendring and Windsor and Maidenhead.
Council tax bills more than doubled since 1997 until last year’s freeze. This is the second year the Government has offered support to freeze council tax to support local residents, families and pensioners.
The Government has set aside up to £675 million for local authorities in England to help keep council tax down. Last year’s freeze saved households up to an estimated £72 on a Band D bill, and this year’s freeze could potentially do the Continue reading
Councils across England and Wales have invested in new fleets of GPS-tracked gritting trucks, snow ploughs and specialist vehicles for narrow and hilly streets. Some are also using new types of salt and methods of spreading it to make supplies last longer.
Thousands of new grit bins have been placed in estates and side streets, residents have been given their own bags of salt along with salt spreaders in some neighbourhoods, and arrangements have been made with parish councils, farmers and community groups to grit hard-to-reach areas.
Council websites will be updated with the latest information on weather, gritting routes, school closures and Continue reading
Poorly supported local referendums, which would have created red tape and bureaucracy, have also been stopped in their tracks, saving local residents a further £300 million.
Despite being the most efficient part of the public sector, with councils facing cuts of 28 per cent over four years, these additional costs could have meant more lost services or higher costs for residents.
These are just two of a number of LGA wins secured over the Localism Bill, which is now just days away from being signed off into law.
Councillor Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the LGA commented:
"There had been concerns that EU fines and Continue reading
The change forms part of new plans due to be unveiled today by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. The money saved would be used to keep overall council tax bills down.
Mr Pickles said: “Under Labour, council tax went through the roof. This Government has scrapped Labour’s council tax revaluation and is helping freeze council tax for two years.
“I want to do more to help everyday families with the cost of living, and protect family homes from tax increases.
“By removing the subsidised tax breaks for empty homes and second homes, we can cut £20 a year off families’ council tax bills by treating Continue reading
The support for local authorities, on top of the existing freeze, means that taxpayers living in an average Band D home in England could save up to £72 on a five per cent rise in council tax.
A second year’s council tax freeze will give real help to households in difficult times and this extra funding will make a positive contribution to those local authorities who wish to keep council tax down.
A new grant scheme will be open to all billing and major precepting authorities, including police and fire authorities, which decide to freeze or reduce their council tax next year. If Continue reading
In the coming months councils will be invited to submit innovative bids for funding.
Ministers believe more frequent collections are likely to discourage fly-tipping and littering as well as reducing problems with vermin and pests.
Mr Pickles said:
"Weekly rubbish collections are the most visible of all front-line services and I believe every household in England has a basic right to have their rubbish collected every week.
"Our fund will help councils deliver weekly collections and in the process make it easier for families to go green and improve the local environment."
Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, added:
"Hard-pressed families across Continue reading
In a letter to council leaders, Mr Pickles has given details of how councils can apply for the money and what the funding can be used for. He also pledged that the process would be quick and simple, with a minimum of red tape, and the money will be transferred quickly from central government to where it’s needed.
The one-off funding package will help rebuild communities, open up shops and repair buildings which were damaged, make sure people who lost their homes are re-housed, and help councils get their areas get back to business. It will also help fund local Continue reading
It reveals widespread public property ownership, beyond frontline services, underlining the scope for savings and the potential of a national asset map.
Public sector assets are worth an estimated £385billion, with almost two-thirds owned by councils. The Government has now committed to work with areas seeking to make savings through better property management. The Government estimates this could potentially save £35billion over 10 years.
The Government wants public sector organisations, including councils, to publish registers of all buildings and land owned. Local people could use the lists alongside the Localism Bill’s new community rights to protect local treasures.
Results from 11-council led pilot projects, Continue reading
The initial results of the joint LG Group/Department for Communities and Local Government Capital and Assets Programme (CAP) show how eleven local authorities are planning to consolidate their own assets and team up with other parts of the public sector, including police, fire authorities and the NHS, to improve service for residents while reducing the cost of maintaining assets and delivering services.
Examples of new approaches to managing public assets have been compiled in a nation-wide interactive map, which is now available online. The map demonstrates how local authorities are working on their own and with other parts of the public sector Continue reading