Local government excluded from more spending cuts

Local government will be excluded from a further £1.1bn of cuts to departmental budgets, with the intention of helping local authorities to freeze council tax from 2014 to 2016. Chancellor George Osborne suggested yesterday that the average household would save £1,100 during the course of the current government because of the repeated freezing of council tax. There will also be a 50 per cent discount on council tax on annexes from April.

New incentives to promote employee ownership were also revealed during Osborne’s speech, with an extra £25m added to the £50m promised at the last budget funding a capital gains tax relief for some employee owners and an exemption from income tax on small bonuses. The estimated cost of the giveaways is £130bn between 2014-15 and 2018-19.