GOVERNMENT plans for elected regional assemblies would add £110 to each council taxpayer's bill, say Tories.
Their attack came during a Commons debate on the plans for assemblies in Yorkshire and the Humber, the North- East and the North-West.
Caroline Spelman, for the Tories, said: "The vast cost of these regional assemblies would end up having to be met by council tax."
Research showed that abolishing county or district councils would add £110 to each person's council tax bill, she added.
The research, by Michael Chisholm of Cambridge University and published in the Public Money and Management academic journal, estimated transition costs at between £1bn and £3.5bn.
Challenging local government minister Nick Raynsford, Mrs Spelman demanded: "Haven't you heard the pain expressed up and down the country about the level that council tax has risen to under this Labour government?"
Mr Raynsford said full costs of assemblies would be published next week.
He said they would be small, streamlined bodies which would focus on delivering services now provided by the Government and quangos.
There would be considerable scope for reducing bureaucracy and making savings by cutting "unnecessary" tiers of government, he added.
Later, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said improving a region's economic performance would be at the heart of an assembly's aims.
If the three northern regions improved productivity to the average of the southern region they would be nearly £35bn a year better off, said Mr Prescott.
He went on: "A directly elected assembly in the North-West would put responsibilities for releasing that potential in the hands of the people in the region, not the civil servants in Whitehall."
The Government had made it absolutely clear it would publish full costs, but could not do so until proposals for council reorganisation in those areas were published next week, he added.
The aim is to simplify local government levels in those regions by recommending unitary authorities to replace district and county councils, said Mr Prescott.
Tory Richard Bacon said: "These proposed regional assemblies will turn out to be another way of squandering money that people would prefer to see spent on teachers and nurses."