COUNCIL tax rates for the sprawling Hambleton area of North Yorkshire have been frozen for the fourth year running, it has been confirmed.

The district council’s full meeting agreed it would not to impose a rise of £2.24 a year on householders.

The increase will instead be funded by central government through a scheme which sees it picking up the costs of rises set below two per cent.

Without the freeze the district element of council tax bills would have been £91.72 a year for a Band D property – but residents will actually be charged £89.48.

Council leader Mark Robson said the freeze was invaluable for taxpayers given the hard financial climate.

“Through our robust financial planning there will be no cuts to the services we provide to the residents of Hambleton – and we remain the third lowest council tax charging authority in the country,” he said.

However the authority, which has nearly £22m in reserves, was earlier criticised for failing to pass on £92,000 from its Government grant which had been expected to be handed to parish and town councils.