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Rejecting council tax freeze 'a folly'

Housing Minister Grant Shapps has said local authorities who reject the council tax freeze grant from central government and put up tax rates are "making a mistake".

He was responding to a Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) report which found that one in six councils are raising council tax.

Mr Shapps told the Today programme's Sarah Montague that this is "a folly, a mistake" and councils that do so are "democratic dodgers" by keeping the rise below a rate which would force a referendum.

However, the Conservative leader of Surrey county council David Hodge, insisted that accepting central government's council tax freeze grant would have created "a black hole of £70m in five years" in the council finances.

He accused the government of "short-termism", saying that the council were on course to make savings of £330m by 2016.

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