George Osborne’s announcement in his speech at the Conservative Party conference that he was making £805m available to local authorities to freeze council tax in 2012-13 comes fast on the heels of news that Eric Pickles has found £250m for councils that maintain weekly bin collections. These are, as the Chancellor reminded us ‘challenging times’ and money is tight. That over £1bn has been found over the last few days might seem amazing, but find it they have. The decision to offer local authorities cash to freeze council tax, a continuation of arrangements for the current year (2011-12) has been presented as evidence that ‘this government is absolutely committed to helping people through these times’. Putting to one side the fact that this will save the average person just £72, there is at least some evidence to suggest that the ‘help’ offered to citizens will actually be negligible. The council … (To read the full article, subscribe below)
Toby Blume is former chief executive of Urban Forum. He now divides his time between working for Lambeth Council helping to implement their Cooperative Council vision, for the Design Council as a Built Environment Expert and on setting up a new free school, the Archer Academy, in North London.
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