Anger ver lw grant handut

DISTRICT cuncillrs have jined frces t cndemn the Gvernment s ne per cent cash handut after they filled its cffers with mre than £750,000 in business cuncil tax. Cnservatives, Liberal Demcrats and the Independents were united in their anger

DISTRICT cuncillrs have jined frces t cndemn the Gvernment's ne per cent cash handut after they filled its cffers with mre than £750,000 in business cuncil tax.

Cnservatives, Liberal Demcrats and the Independents were united in their anger ver the grant settlement which leaves them with a budget shrtfall f £100,000 ver the next year.

Smaller settlements in the fllwing tw years will lead t a deficit f £300,000 by 2010.

They feared that the decisin was made t take pwer away frm lcal cuncils and resulted in them being frced t agree a cuncil increase f 3.72 per cent, they claim.


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"We remain astunded by the tiny increase in the Gvernment grant at a time when we are dramatically increasing the number f hmes in the district," said Cuncillr Brian Ashtn, leader f East Cambridgeshire District Cuncil.

"Central gvernment receives ver £750,000 mre frm business rates which the district cuncil cllects n their behalf with nly a small percentage ever cming back t East Cambridgeshire.

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"Despite this, we have managed t keep the increase in the district cuncil element f the Cuncil Tax t less than the retail price index."

Cllr Gareth Wilsn, Liberal Demcrat leader, said: "It seems the mtive behind the decisin maybe the drive t take pwer away frm lcal authrities."

Independent grup leader, Cllr Andy Wright, accused the Gvernment f undermining the hard wrk f cuncillrs and fficers by its "crass decisin".

"I hpe ne day thse in Westminster will realise this is a wrld beynd their little Lndn club," he said.

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