George Osborne Photo:

Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled a plan to freeze council tax rises until at least 2012/13.
This news comes just weeks after Brighton and Hove City Council revealed its plans to increase council tax by ten percent over the next three years.
Their argument was that due to Government cuts the council needed to source £50 million from elsewhere in order to protect the most vulnerable: the elderly, the disabled and the very young.
Unsurprisingly the Green Party’s plans were received with outrage from many residents, several blaming the high proportion of students for rising council taxes.
Some residents believe they are subsidising the number of full-time students who are exempt from paying council tax.
However, this does not take into account the fact that landlords have to pay council tax when houses are unoccupied, often over the summer months.
So what does Osborne’s plan mean? Although the Government cannot force councils to refrain from raising their taxes, they are offering financial incentives for those that limit the increases to 2.5 percent.
Part-time Sussex students will welcome this news, including those living with other full-time students.
Although full-time students are exempt from paying council tax, part-time students are liable to pay 75 percent of the council tax bill for their home.
However, part-time students may also be entitled to income support.
The Brighton and Hove City Council website has an online benefit calculator to help work out how much you’ll potentially receive.
There are other ways of reducing your council tax by having your house downgraded.
Often you find that your house is band D while your neighbours either side are only band C.
The money saving expert website gives clear instructions on how to check and challenge your council tax band.

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