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Five local authorities in Essex will qualify for extra funding from the Government by freezing or reducing their council tax this year.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has set aside £650 million to offer a grant worth 2.5% of council tax to those authorities which do not impose a rise on residents in April.
He released a list of 133 authorities nationally - including five in Essex - which have so far signalled their intention to avoid a rise, despite a tough funding settlement which the Local Government Association calculates will leave councils in England with a £6.5 billion shortfall.
According to the Department for Communities and Local Government Basildon, Braintree, Colchester, Harlow and Southend-on-Sea are planning to freeze rates.
Mr Pickles hailed these and other authorities which are reducing costs as "can-do councils''.
"I welcome the news that already over 130 'can-do councils' are planning to take part in the Government's £650 million council tax freeze initiative,'' said Mr Pickles.
"This shows that local authorities can keep taxes down and protect frontline services.''