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BUDGET TO RAISE COUNCIL TAX FOR EDUCATION SPENDING

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Tax cuts expected in tomorrow's budget will be partly paid for by rises in council tax bills of up to 11%, The Inde...
Tax cuts expected in tomorrow's budget will be partly paid for by rises in council tax bills of up to 11%, The Independent on Sunday claimed in its front page lead.

A letter from Welsh secretary William Hague to a Labour MP says bills in Wales are expected to rise by 11% next year.

On a similar basis, bills in England and Scotland could be expected to rise by 5% and 8% respectively, the paper says.

Meanwhile, today's Financial Times (p1) reports that education spending is likely to rise in the budget. This, says the paper, has persuaded ministers to lift the council tax cap significantly, to ensure that local councils are not prevented by budget constraints, from passing on education funds to schools.

The paper says that ministers also hope this move will tempt Labour councils to raise their council taxes substantially, undermining the opposition's claims that it is now committed to low taxes.

The Guardian (p1) reports that shadow education secretary David Blunkett predicted that the government would ease the cap on council spending without increasing revenue support grant for education, so forcing councils into big council tax rises or service cuts.

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