THE Conservative-run Kirklees Council deserves full credit for its innovative plans to lighten the council tax load on pensioners.
As Clr Robert Light, the council leader, points out, council tax increases since the early 1990s have more than doubled the rise in state and occupational pensions.
Hence the decision to freeze the bills for over 65s who do not receive council tax benefit - although it is pointed out that not all those who qualify for council tax benefit do so and quite a lot of pensioners would be better off applying for that rather than taking the freeze.
To the best of anyone's knowledge Kirklees is the first council in the country to come up with this kind of scheme and the estimate is that 20,000 homes could benefit.
We feel sure that most people will feel instinctively that this is the right thing to do, although it should be born in mind that reduced bills for some mean increased bills for the rest.
Even so, there is good news in the pledge to try to hold the council tax increase to 3% rather than the 5% of recent years.
But in a country where the population is ageing and the numbers of over 65s is set to go up sharply this is a brave move.
The test will come when it is time for next year's council budget. We hope they don't come to regret letting this particular genie out of the bottle.
EARLY indications from the US elections are of a resounding blow for the Republicans with the Democrats now back in control of the House of Representatives.
Given the unpopularity of the Iraq war - rightly in our opinion - on this side of the Atlantic, it is tempting to think that similar considerations apply in the US too.
But from America comes the thought that it is scandals in the Republican camp rather than Iraq which has made the biggest difference.
President Bush has already bowed to the inevitable by calling for talks with Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat who seems certain to become the first female leader of the House.
This split of control between the White House and Capitol Hill is in fact the most usual situation in US politics. We can only hope it leads to a more balanced approach from Washington in future. A change of mind over climate change would be a good place to start.