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CALL FOR FUNDING REVAMP

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Prime minister Tony Blair's decision to include the environment portfolio in John Prescott's 'super-ministry' has r...
Prime minister Tony Blair's decision to include the environment portfolio in John Prescott's 'super-ministry' has raised questions about the format of this year's local government funding negotiations.

Veterans of the Consultative Council on Local Government Finance believe the present system is in need of reform. One source said: 'Everybody is agreed we need a better system than in the past. It's become too ritualistic. It needs to be less formal and more substantial.'

Given the wide scope of Mr Prescott's ministerial brief it is unclear how much of a hands-on attitude to the negotiations he will take.

One option could be to let local government minister Hilary Armstrong deal with detailed discussions with the Local Government Association and individual councils, with Mr Prescott leading the overall thrust of the negotiations.
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