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My hon. Friend is right to point to a pattern that we have seen before. After the general election of 2001, the pattern was of council tax rising steeply as the Government recovered their financial position. Once again, after the 2005 election, we fear the worst. Not only is the process flawed and costly but it puts local authorities in the position of having to cut services on which local people often rely. Typically, those tend to be the sorts of services used by some of the most vulnerable in our society.
As the situation stands, everyone except the Chancellor loses out. I sincerely hope that he had a pang of guilt when he offered a one-off £200 payment to pensioners for this election year only. The Conservative party proposed a 50 per cent. discount for over-65s, year on year, properly costed and fully funded.