Deputy PM named as council tax villain

HERE is the man to blame for this year's swingeing rises in council tax – deputy prime minister John Prescott.The Audit Commission – the independent body which monitors public spending – said council tax bills had risen because the government imposed spending increases in areas like education and social care without providing enough extra grants to cover them.

By Paul Geater

HERE is the man to blame for this year's swingeing rises in council tax – deputy prime minister John Prescott.

The Audit Commission – the independent body which monitors public spending – said council tax bills had risen because the government imposed spending increases in areas like education and social care without providing enough extra grants to cover them.

Council grants are administered by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), which is headed by Mr Prescott.

The Audit Commission's report, due out tomorrow, is also understood to confirm that the government switched resources from the South of England to the Midlands and North.

Suffolk County Council deputy leader David Rowe said the report would bear out claims the ruling Labour group made about this year's rise.

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He said: "Of the 18.5 per cent rise, 14pc was directly as a result of changes to the government grant."

FULL STORY IN TONIGHT'S EVENING STAR