Inflation-busting council tax rise predicted

25 Nov 99
A rise of 7% has been forecast in council tax almost three times the rate of inflation in the next financial year, with householders facing an average £56 increase in their bills.

26 November 1999

Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat environment secretary, who predicted the increase, said it came at the same time as Labour was 'failing' to maintain funding levels for key public services.

'Last year local government was left £1.6bn short, this year the figure is likely to be £1.7bn. Local authorities will be forced to make up the difference by cutting services, increasing council tax and increasing local charges.'

Lib Dems said Foster's prediction, which came less than 24 hours before Hilary Armstrong was to announce the Local Government Finance Settlement for 2000/01, was based on figures in the Treasury's financial statement and budget report, commonly known as the Red Book.

Labour refused to comment on the figures, saying they would wait for the announcement by the minister on November 25. Armstrong was expected to announce to the House of Commons a 4.7% increase in total standard spending.

Two services – education and social services – were likely to be the main beneficiaries.

Spending on education was predicted to rise by 5.4%, with social services getting a 5% rise. Funding for other services was estimated to increase by 4.6%.


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