Local Government Association chairman Sandy Bruce-Lockhart said: 'While the nine district councils have found it useful to put their individual cases to the government, it is imperative that the minister appreciates the wider context of the situation and takes into account the financial pressures facing councils before making a final decision.
'Over the last few years central government spending requirements on councils have not been matched by increases in government grant. This has contributed to a massive£1.5bn black hole projected for budgets for 2006.'
The LGA has argued that it is wrong to cap councils, especially on the basis of their percentage council tax increase - all of the nine authorities singled out for capping have below average council tax at Band D. As was the case last year, some councils will be facing rebilling costs that are in excess of the proposed council tax increase per household.
The initial view of the 2006/06 annual efficiency statements demonstrates that councils are facing the efficiency challenge in a robust manner (see LGC).