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Council fears taken to Whitehall

PUBLISHED: 21:00 01 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:06 03 March 2010

COUNCILLORS in mid Suffolk have been so dismayed by a poor grant from the Government that they are taking their concerns to Ministers.

Their lobbying comes amid fears they may have to impose council tax hikes of up to 15 per cent, a choice preferred to making cuts in services.

COUNCILLORS in mid Suffolk have been so dismayed by a poor grant from the Government that they are taking their concerns to Ministers.

Their lobbying comes amid fears they may have to impose council tax hikes of up to 15 per cent, a choice preferred to making cuts in services.

If finally agreed, the council's share of the bill – on top of the separate charges from the police, county, town and parish councils – would rise on average from £95.25 this year to £109.54.

The Government's recently announced spending proposals for local government left some rural districts complaining they have been sold short.

Mid Suffolk District Council had revealed it could have a budget shortfall of more than £100,000, although councillors hope for a better final settlement.

Now Mid Suffolk Chief Executive Andrew Good has written to the Minister for Local Government and the Regions highlighting councillors concerns.

In his letter he writes of the considerable consternation expressed by shire districts at the settlement, and the adverse effect this has preparing a budget for 2002/3.

He also encloses a unanimous resolution from a recent Executive Committee meeting which urged the Government to recalculate the grant settlement to shire districts.

The resolution highlights how Mid Suffolk District Council has shown its commitment to the delivery of many of the Government's priorities, and yet believes they are not being given the adequate resources to carry these out without severely undermining local services.

Leader of the council Penny Otton said: "It's very, very disappointing. How can we budget without knowing what the true figures are going to be? It is a very disappointing settlement for all districts.''

Councillors, who have been warned by senior officers that central Government could challenge such a large council tax rise as excessive, hope that the grant settlement will be recalculated for shire districts.

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