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COUNCIL LEADERS EXPECT TOUGH SETTLEMENT TODAY

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Local councils will be told today how much they can spend in the coming year, reported Radio Four's Today programme...
Local councils will be told today how much they can spend in the coming year, reported Radio Four's Today programme. Speaking on the programme Sir Peter Bowness Leader of Croydon LBC said a 'tough settlement' was expected. Based on figures announced in the budget, allowing total spending to increase by 2%, councils say they will be 8% short of the total money needed to maintain services.

Speaking in the programme Jeremy Beecham, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said local authorities would need to spend £3bn more than present to keep currant services going. Leader of the Liberal Democrat East Sussex council said his council had already had an internal management review but bureaucracy has been cut as far as it would go and now front-line services, such as nursery education and transport.

The government will distribute the money with a changed formulae, reported the programme, which is likely to leave inner cities and south east authorities worse off and give northern councils and areas of industrial decline more money.

Sir Peter Bowness of Croydon, said the new census data being used would result in significant shifts of grants from the south east. Whilst 'prudent' Tory councils had made arrangements to cope with this, Sir Peter warned the government not to implement the change in one year - this would create a 'swing' of money too great to manage.
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