Council tax frozen across England
Council tax is to be frozen or reduced in every local authority area in England this year, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced.
It is the first year since the tax was introduced in 1993 that it has not risen.
The freeze was funded by £650 million provided by Mr Pickles's Department for Communities and Local Government to support councils which opted not to increase their bills.
Official statistics show the average Band D council tax set by local authorities in England will remain unchanged at £1,439 for 2011/12 as a result of a 0% increase on last year's council tax level.
Some 378 councils have frozen the tax and 43 have reduced it.
Mr Pickles 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.
"As well as special funding that has ensured councils freeze their bills, the Government has scrapped a council tax revaluation and in the future residents themselves will have the right to veto excessive increases in local referendums."
Every eligible English local authority will now receive an additional grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) equivalent to them having increased their council tax by 2.5%, paid in 10 equal instalments from April.
The new council tax levels come into effect from April. Some areas may see a small increase in the figures on bills, as parish councils are not covered by the freeze arrangements and could be imposing a hike in their share of the tax.
No capping will be required in 2011-12, said the DCLG.