Tories pledge council tax freeze

29 September 2008

The Conservative Party says it will introduce a freeze on council tax increases for two-years if it is elected to power at the next general election.

Shadow chancellor, George Osborne, made the announcement at the Conservative Party Conference, which began today in Birmingham. He said that the move would help families cope with the rising cost of living, and could save a typical Band D household over £200 during the two-year period.

A Conservative government would pay for the move by cutting advertising and the number of contracted consultants by £1 billion a year. Local government would also bear a wedge of the cost, however.

Osborne says that, if elected to power, his government will encourage councils to freeze or cut council tax by paying them additional money if they keep increases to 2.5% of below.

“The country may not be able to afford upfront tax cuts because borrowing is too high,” Osborne said during his speech at the conference. “But families facing the squeeze cannot afford tax rises either. We are going into partnership with local councils. If they find matching savings in their town hall, we will give them these savings from Whitehall.”

The Conservative Party says that it would “tighten its belt” if it is elected to power, to reflect the economic climate.

As well as introducing a council tax freeze, Osborne says he wants to revamp the way the government uses taxpayers money, with an emphasis on fiscal and financial responsibility.

This includes current fiscal rules around public spending scrapped, and the creation of a new department to monitor the sustainability of public finances.

In addition, the Tories want to see the UK adopt a new attitude towards borrowing and debt, which Osborne says will minimize the risk of another credit crunch

Measures include giving the Bank of England a greater role in regulating financial firms and forcing firms to hand over more money to ensure they are property regulated.

Osborne says a Tory government would also increase the amount of depositor protection to £50,000.


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