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ALL-PARTY CAMBS CC ANGER AT AREA COST ADJUSTMENT ANNOUNCEMENT

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BLAIR CHEATS ON THE PEOPLE OF CAMBRIDGESHIRE ...
BLAIR CHEATS ON THE PEOPLE OF CAMBRIDGESHIRE

Conservative council leader Keith Walters said: 'Tony Blair has cheated on the people of Cambridgeshire, who will now end up paying more for less next year.

'On the eve of this year's election Mr Blair made a pledge in the Cambridge Evening News to review the area cost adjustment in time for 1998.

'These were clearly cheap words designed to win a few extra votes. I am bitterly disappointed to learn that the government has commissioned yet another report into the area cost adjustment scheme.

'Last year an independent committee set up by the government concluded that the present system of allocating cash to local authorities is flawed and that Cambridgeshire is unfairly treated. It said Cambridgeshire should get an extra£10m each year.

'The government has given no details of who will carry out this latest review. It is absolutely crucial that it is totally independent.

Liberal Democrat leader Sal Brinton said: 'Given all the independent evidence available, how the government can continue with a scheme that gives more cash to schools and other services in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex than we receive beggars belief. Cambridgeshire is the fastest growing county in the country, and now two generations of children have passed through the school system underfunded while successive governments have dithered and prevaricated. It makes a mockery of Labour's claim to have education as its top priority.'

Labour leader Janet Jones added: 'This is one subject that has always had all party support in Cambridgeshire and I am disgusted that yet again the people of Cambridgeshire will lose out. We met the local government minister a few months ago and put a compelling case to her to give Cambridgeshire a fair deal. All of our services are strapped for cash, but yet again our pleas have been ignored. The people of Cambridgeshire have been treated appallingly. They deserve better.'

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