Keeping council tax under control, in the interests of all taxpayers, is a priority for the Government. Government grant to councils in England since 1997 has increased on a like for like basis by 39 per cent. in real terms up to 2007-08, and it has taken capping action against excessive council tax increases. This has helped bring the average band D (two adult) council tax increase down from almost 13 per cent. in 2003-04 to 4.2 per cent in 2007-08.
As Sir Michael Lyons’ recent report on local government recognises, council tax benefit is the key to tackling the perceived unfairness of council tax towards all those on low incomes. The Government are working hard to improve take up and has done a great deal to improve pensioner incomes, spending around £11.5 billion more on pensioners in 2007-08 than if 1997 policies had continued.