Conservatives have given a warm welcome to the announcement from Chancellor George Osborne in his Comprehensive Spending Review that funding will be provided to enable town halls to freeze council tax for the next two years.
Also announced by the Chancellor was a warning to councils that any increases in council tax of over 2% would have to be approved by the public in a referendum.
Other welcome measures in the Comprehensive Spending Review include a £2 billion investment in preventative social care funding for councils, a new £2 billion Local Growth Fund to boost economic growth and a feasibility study into improving notorious traffic hotspots on the A27.
Conservative Group Leader, Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, said: “This is good news for residents and it will be five years in a row that the Government has offered assistance to local authorities to freeze council tax. Sadly, for the last two years, the Green Administration has opted to turn down the Government’s money and last year the Labour Group backed them in voting through a 2% council tax rise, despite the fact that the Council had a budget underspend of £4.6 million. So I make an appeal now to the two left-wing parties – Labour and the Greens – to put residents’ interests first this year and prepare a Budget that takes advantage of this offer from the Government which, after all, is bringing money into the city.”
Conservative Group Finance Spokesman, Cllr. Ann Norman, added: “I am particularly pleased to see the Government investing in adult social care which, with the ageing population, is a ticking timebomb for councils up and down the country. Preventative funding to help people to remain living in their own homes for longer, rather than going into expensive residential care or hospital, has to be the way forward.”