The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has responded with mixed emotions to the Government's announcement of council tax freeze arrangements for 2013/14.
Steve Freer, CIPFA's Chief Executive said:
"Many councils are having to resort to cutting services in order to balance their books. In many ways it is helpful if they can avoid increasing local taxes at the same time, particularly when household incomes are under such pressure."
“But it is also very worrying that we seem to be drifting to a position in which the council tax is effectively determined by central rather than local government. That's bad news for local democracy and sits awkwardly with the Government's own localism policy."
CIPFA also stressed the importance of confirming that the freeze grant funding is "new money" and not an allocation within the existing control total for local government.
Freer said, "It's one thing to make new money available to incentivise councils to follow a national policy lead. It's quite another to do so with resources which are already earmarked for councils' funding."
CIPFA Press Office
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CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. Our 14,000 members work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications are the foundation for a career in public finance. They include the benchmark professional qualification for public sector accountants as well as a postgraduate diploma for people already working in leadership positions. They are taught by our in-house CIPFA Education and Training Centre as well as other places of learning around the world. We also champion high performance in public services, translating our experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. They include information and guidance, courses and conferences, property and asset management solutions, consultancy and interim people for a range of public sector clients. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance. We work with donors, partner governments, accountancy bodies and the public sector around the world to advance public finance and support better public services. This includes the development of local professional qualifications in African countries like Lesotho and Nigeria and in Europe in post conflict states in the Balkans.