By DAVID WOODING in Manchester
IT went down a storm last time so who can blame George Osborne for pulling the same trick again.
The Chancellor announced a freeze on council tax for the second year running to help ease the strain on cash-strapped families.
The move will save the average household an estimated total of £144 over the past two years and means bills will not rise before April 2013 at the earliest.
Mr Osborne can’t force councils to peg council tax but he is stumping up an extra £805 million to give to those who limit spending increases to 2.5 per cent.
Labour have scoffed at the move, claiming it will only lead further cuts in services provided by town halls.
But deep down they know this will prove enormously popular with millions of families who struggle to pay what must be the most begrudge bill in their household budget.
Mr Osborne obviously remembers the huge applause he received in the conference hall – and mass acclaim outside – when he announced the current freeze on council bills.
That must have driven him to find the cash to put on a repeat performance at the Tories’ annual rally inManchester. Money will also be offered to Scottish and Welsh administrations to spend as they wish.
Mr Osborne said: “I am doing everything to help you, your family, to help the economy, to get people into work, to keep people in work.
“That is what we are working flat out on. We reject the idea that governments can’t do anything in the face of these global storms. My job is to take the difficult decisions that help families to put food on the table and keep the people in work who bring the bread home. That’s my job.
“We are working flat out, using every tool available to us. We are not standing on the sidelines.”
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