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GUMMER WARNS COUNCILS ON SPENDING PLANS

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Large proposed increases in spending outlined by local authorities may be more than the country can afford, environ...
Large proposed increases in spending outlined by local authorities may be more than the country can afford, environment secretary John Gummer warned .

Speaking following the Consultative Council on Local Government Finance, which met yesterday under his chairmanship, Mr Gummer said:

'Local authorities have not yet put a final figure on what they believe they need to spend in 1995-96, but the assessment which they offered today was that a substantial increase would be required.

'The government has to bear in mind what the country can afford. There are many competing priorities and even existing spending plans are under exacting scrutiny in the current public spending round.

'Much remains to be done before we can decide the local government finance settlement. We must plan for the first unitary authority and the proposed new police authorities.

'It will continue to discuss these matters, as well as others raised by the local authority associations, with my Cabinet colleagues and I hope to announce our conclusions very soon after the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget statement.'

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