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EXTRA FUNDING FOR COUNCILS IN NEW WELSH BUDGET

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Alun Michael, Welsh Secretary, announced to the Welsh grand committee yesterday significant spending increases on h...
Alun Michael, Welsh Secretary, announced to the Welsh grand committee yesterday significant spending increases on health and education over the next three years, reports the Western Mail (p6).

Mr Michael said education would receive extra funding of£844m, councils and police forces£868m and health more than£1bn. Council tax for 19999/2000, however, may increase by three times the rate of inflation for some.

The Welsh budget was the last to be set by a Welsh secretary. From next year it will be done by the new national aAssembly.

Richard Livsey, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, welcomed the settlement, 'suggesting some might think Christmas had come early', but criticised the council tax rise.

Welsh Office minister Jon Owen Jones said he hoped the new budget would build on Labour's election pledges.
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