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GUMMER TIGHT-LIPPED OVER SPENDING LEVELS

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Environment secretary John Gummer failed to give any indication to council leaders on Wednesday of how his departme...
Environment secretary John Gummer failed to give any indication to council leaders on Wednesday of how his department's bid for funding for next year was progressing.

Councillors and officials met ministers to discuss spending need for 1997-98 and what changes to the grant distribution mechanism should be implemented.

But the local government side expressed disappointment at the lack of serious discussion at the meeting. 'It is the worst CCLGF I have ever been to,' said one attendee.

Councillors reiterated their claim, made in July, that they needed to spend £47.2 billion next year - which would represent a 5% increase in total standard spending.

Some of those attending blamed the attempt by the local government side to avoid discussion of proposed changes to the standard spending assessment system, which has provoked major rivalry this year, for the poor quality of the meeting.

District, metropolitan, London and county councils are all pushing for changes in the system which would see a significant shifts in funding.

It emerged this week that the provisional RSG settlement will be announced on Wednesday 27 November - the day after the Budget and a day earlier than usual.

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