MP Kris Hopkins calls on councils to freeze tax

MP Kris Hopkins calls on councils to freeze tax

Published at 2:43pm 18th December 2014. (Updated at 2:16pm 19th December 2014)

Local Government Minister and Ilkley MP Kris Hopkins has called on councils to take up the offer of extra Government funding to freeze council tax.

Since 2010, the Government has worked with councils to bring average bills in England down by 11% in real terms.

That is worth the equivalent of £1,075 to the average Band D taxpayer and compares to a period between 1997 and 2010 when bills more than doubled.

Ministers have also given local residents the right to a referendum should any council propose to increase bills above a national threshold, which will remain at 2%.

Mr Hopkins told the House of Commons that sensible savings must be made to keep council tax down and protect frontline services.

He said: "Every bit of the public sector needs to do their bit to pay off deficit left by the last administration, including local government which accounts for a quarter of all public spending. This Government will continue to deliver a fair settlement to every part of the country, as part of our long-term economic plan.

"We have been working to give hard-working people greater financial security by taking action to keep council tax down. There is extra money on the table for all councils which pledge to freeze council tax bills next year and we would urge them to take it to help their residents with the cost of living.

"The local government settlement is fair to all parts of the country - north and south, rural and urban, city and shire - therefore every council should be able to deliver sensible savings while protecting frontline services for local taxpayers.

"The settlement once again leaves councils with considerable spending power and rewards those that prioritise housing and growth.

"Today's fair funding deal arms councils with a significant average spending power of £2,083 per household. The average spending power reduction for councils in 2015 to 2016 is just 1.8%.

"Taking into account the additional transformation money the Government is giving councils to improve services, this reduction falls to 1.6%.

"This Government is committed to rural areas, which is demonstrated by the way our fair settlements have helped to close the urban-rural gap in spending power. This year ministers will provide an additional £15.5 million to support the most rural authorities to recognise the challenges they may face in delivering services."