An increasing number of independent care homes for the elderly are being closed because of the recession.
Alistair Darling bowed to pressure last night and cut the planned 5 per cent rise in business rates that was threatening to cripple many small firms.
Two police authorities face being capped after setting excessive council tax increases well above the average 3 per cent rise for England, the Government announced last night.
Tens of thousands of small companies will see their business rates increasing
Retired social workers are being targeted in an effort to fill shortages
A quarter of all council tax is going to meet the soaring cost of the gold-plated pensions of town hall workers.
Business rates are set for their biggest rise since the modern system began in 1993.
Council tax is set to rise by almost £50 for an average property next year to plug a £2.5billion black hole.
Legislation to allow local councils to levy extra taxes on businesses, could threaten the future of schemes in which enterprises help with the upkeep of their neighbourhoods.
The number of elderly people receiving care in their homes has fallen by 17 per cent since Labour allowed councils to restrict help to the most needy.