Council tax is to increase by more than double the rate of inflation in the West Midlands, but authorities escaped rate-capping yesterday.
Bills are to increase by an average of 4.9 per cent in a number of authorities across the region, just below the limit of five per cent set by John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister.
In a statement to the House of Commons, Ministers announced they were taking action against authorities such as York and Medway, in Kent, which both increased bills by 5.5 per cent.
But Conservative local government spokesman Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden, accused the Government of turning a blind eye to swingeing increases elsewhere.
Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Stoke are all putting up bills for a band D property by 4.9 per cent. The rate of inflation is two per cent.
There was good news for residents in Birmingham, where the increase is just 1.9 per cent, significantly lower than any other metropolitan authority.
It brings the average council tax for a band D home in the city up to £1,033 for 2006-7.
The most expensive council in the region is Walsall, which is to charge £1,200 on a band D home, following a 3.7 per cent increase.
Across the West Midlands as a whole, council tax rose by 4.1 per cent and average band D bills will be £1,246.
Local Government Minister Phil Woolas said: "The council tax figures show that council tax is under control, with the second lowest increase in over a decade."
He highlighted figures showing the average council tax bill was lower in Labour authorities than Conservative a nd Liberal Democrat authorities.
However, opposition politicians said Birmingham's low increase, under Conservative and Liberal Democrat leader-ship, was in stark contrast to the above-inflation increases when Labour was in charge.
Birmingham MP Andrew Mitchell (Con Sutton Coldfield) said: "The council now has the lowest increase of any major urban authority."
Coun Paul Tilsley, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "This is one of the lowest increases in the country, for the second year running.
"The Government still owes us £5 million for the cost of clearing up the damage caused by last year's tornado, and if that had been received we could actually have reduced council tax."
Nationally, bills will increase by 4.5 per cent, up to an average of £1,268 in band D.
Mrs Spelman said: "Council tax in England has gone up 84 per cent under Labour. Hard working families and pensioners are being hit in the pocket by Labour's tax hikes and have to face the prospect of everincreasing council tax bills year on year."
Age Concern said pensioners would be "furious" at the tax rise. Director-general Gordon Lishman said: "The 4.5 per cent increase means that council tax has almost doubled since 1997 while the basic s tate pension has only increased by around a third in the same period."
Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: "The council tax rise is higher than councils themselves would want."
Average council tax for a Band D property and percentage increase:
* Birmingham £1,033 1.9%
* Coventry £1,173 3.5%
* Dudley £963 2.5%
* Sandwell £1,079 2.8%
* Solihull £1,013 4.4%
* Stoke £993 4.9%
* Telford & Wrekin £1,030 4.7%
* Walsall £1,200 3.7%
* Wolverhampton £1,156 4.9%
* Herefordshire £1,073 4.6%
* Shropshire £932 4.7%
* Staffordshire £903 4.9%
* Warwickshire £996 4.9%
* Worcestershire £899 4.9%