Latest Public Sector News


Council tax freeze to be extended for third year

The Government has announced £270m of funding available for a third year of council tax freezes across England, if local authorities accept the deal.

This year, they will receive the equivalent of a 1% increase from Whitehall in return – £225m funding in both 2013-14 and 2014-15.

While this could be good news for residents, the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) warns that the move goes against the Government’s localism agenda.

Steve Freer, CIPFA’s chief executive said: “Many councils are having to resort to cutting services in order to balance their books. In many ways it is helpful if they can avoid increasing local taxes at the same time, particularly when household incomes are under such pressure.

“But it is also very worrying that we seem to be drifting to a position in which the council tax is effectively determined by central rather than local government. That’s bad news for local democracy and sits awkwardly with the Government’s own localism policy.”

He also called for confirmation that the funding was new money, and not that already earmarked for councils’ spending.

Sir Merrick Cockell, chairman of the Local Government Association, agreed that the announcement would make localism more difficult to implement and said that the freeze was only a short-term solution.

“Reducing the current referendum trigger from 3.5% to 2% represents less flexibility for councils and even less localism with Whitehall decreeing what constitutes excessive. If local referendums are to be truly localist, they should be triggered by local people who can determine whether a council tax increase is excessive or not.

“Any help for councils is a good thing, but we have to be clear that this is a short-term offer. It doesn't address the huge long-term pressures councils are facing, including bigger cuts than any other part of the public sector and an immediate and growing crisis in funding care for the elderly. Councils could now have to budget for a further future shortfall.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >