Extra Funding For South Coast Councils?

More than 130 local authorities in England 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 today released a list of 133 authorities 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.

The list was released as three London authorities - Hammersmith & Fulham,  Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster - announced a deal to save £35 million a year by sharing back office and management functions.

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.

"And it is great to see three big London councils lead the way sharing senior staff and back offices, saving taxpayers millions of pounds and showing it's possible to do more for less and protect frontline services in the process.

"This shows that local authorities can keep taxes down and protect frontline services."

According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, the four English councils planning to reduce council tax are: East Staffordshire; Hounslow; Ipswich; and Windsor & Maidenhead.

Freezes are planned by:

Allerdale; Avon & Somerset Police; Aylesbury Vale; Barnet; Basildon; Basingstoke & Deane; Bath & North East Somerset; Bedford; Blackburn with Darwen; Blackpool; Bolton; Boston; Bracknell Forest; Braintree; Breckland; Brent Brighton & Hove; Bristol; Broadland; Bromley; Buckinghamshire; Buckinghamshire Fire Authority; Calderdale; Cambridge; Cambridgeshire; Cambridgeshire Fire Authority; Camden; Canterbury; Carlisle; Central Bedfordshire; Charnwood; Cheltenham; Cheshire East; Chorley; Colchester; Copeland; Cornwall; Cotswold; Coventry; Crawley; Cumbria; Derby; Derbyshire; Durham; Ealing; East Devon; East Hampshire; East Sussex; Eastbourne; Eden; Enfield; Epsom & Ewell; Essex Police; Exeter; Fenland; Forest of Dean; Gloucestershire; Greater London Authority; Greater Manchester Police; Greenwich; Hammersmith & Fulham; Hampshire; Harlow; Harrogate; Harrow; Hastings; High Peak; Hillingdon; Huntingdonshire; Isle of Wight; Kensington & Chelsea; Kent; King's Lynn & West Norfolk; Kingston-upon-Hull; Lancashire; Lancaster; Leicester; Leicestershire; Lincoln; Lincolnshire; Manchester; Mansfield; Merton; Milton Keynes; Mole Valley; New Forest; Newcastle-under-Lyme; Norfolk; North Somerset; North Tyneside; North West Leicestershire; Northampton; Northamptonshire; Oldham; Reading; Redbridge; ; Richmond-upon-Thames; Rutland; Scarborough; Sevenoaks; Somerset; South Gloucestershire; South Lakeland; South Northamptonshire; South Yorkshire Police; Southend-on-Sea; St Albans; Stafford; Staffordshire; Stroud; Suffolk Coastal; Surrey; Swale; Taunton Deane; Telford & Wrekin; Three Rivers; Torbay; Tunbridge Wells; Wakefield; Walsall; Warwick; Watford; Waveney; Waverley; Wealden; Wellingborough; Welwyn Hatfield; West Dorset; West Lindsey; West Sussex; West Yorkshire Police; Weymouth & Portland; and Winchester.