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GUMMER TELLS SHEFFIELD TO CUT BUDGET FOR THIS YEAR BY£5M

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Attempts by Sheffield City Council to set council tax bills higher than government spending targets have been halte...
Attempts by Sheffield City Council to set council tax bills higher than government spending targets have been halted, the Yorkshire Post reports on its front page. John Gummer rejected the authority's proposed budget for this year yesterday and ordered it to be reduced by £5 million.

The paper reports that his decision is a blow to council leaders struggling to make more than £30 million of savings. They now have 28 days to appeal. Last month councillors agreed to ignore government recommendations and set a budget £5 million in excess of the £378 million target.

Sheffield was one of three local authorities to ignore budget guidelines. The other two, Langbaurgh on Tees and Slough have been capped. Under government spending recommendations, council tax bills in Sheffield should have been six per cent lower than last year. Instead the council opted to raise an extra £5 million by leaving them at 1993 levels.

The Post says Sheffield must now pins its hopes for sorting out its financial problems on a delegation to Mr Gummer later this month. The council has already sent out council tax bills based on the excess budget. A rejection of the appeal will force a rebilling of more than 200,000 homes and householders in a Band D property stand to save £38.
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