EALING Council has offered an early Christmas present to residents after announcing last night it will continue to freeze council tax for another year.
Labour leader Julian Bell welcomed the good news at a full council meeting at the town hall last night.
The council will be utilising a £3.1million grant from government designed to give residents a year of respite as purses tighten in the tough economic climate.
Councillor Mark Reen, shadow cabinet member for finance, also welcomed the freeze after criticising the leading Labour group a few weeks ago for not taking up the grant when it was first announced by Chancellor George Osborne in October.
Hesitation was due to a £2.9million shortfall which the council would have to fill to maintain no rise in the annual levy.
But Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for finance, said although the council will be taking a significant hit, they are happy to be helping residents in these difficult times.
"We have taken the money to have the freeze but that affects our base. We know the need to have a freeze at the moment but we will have a hole of £2.9million - it is not an ideal situation to be in," she said.
"It's a difficult situation for the public at the moment and we're being sympathetic to them and we're happy to do that."
Mr Bell previously highlighted that the grant was only for one year, after which the council would have to reconsider rising the fee in order to make year on year savings as it faces £85million of cuts.