Council tax will be frozen or reduced across England for 2011/ 2012, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced today – meaning households in every local authority will escape an added financial squeeze.

Council tax has risen every year since 1993 but with inflation currently soaring and many Brits having to tighten their belts, £650m from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG ) is being used to allow councils not to hike up their tax bills.

The average Band D council tax set by local authorities in England will stay at £1,439 for 2011/12 due to a 0% increase on last year, according to official statistics.

Across the country, 378 councils have frozen the council tax and 43 have reduced it.

Pickles said the move was a nod towards cash-stapped households.

“We are standing up for the hard-pressed taxpayer who watched their council tax bill double,” he said.

“Tackling public debt is our highest priority but we are determined to protect hard-working families and pensioners who have been squeezed for too long. This is about giving real and immediate help to families struggling with the daily cost of living.”

Local authorities will now receive an additional grant from the DCLG equivalent to them raising their council tax by 2.5%.

The new council tax levels come into effect from April.

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