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GWENT ESCAPES HIGH COURT CHALLENGE OVER BUDGET

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The Welsh Office has withdrawn its high court challenge to Gwent CC's budget calculations. In April then Welsh Secr...
The Welsh Office has withdrawn its high court challenge to Gwent CC's budget calculations. In April then Welsh Secretary David Hunt announced he was taking the county to court on the grounds it was asking residents to pay £2 million more than was necessary in 1993-94 (LGC, 23 April).

He said households could get reductions on their bills of up to £29. The Welsh Office filed an application to the high court in May and requested an early hearing, but it was not scheduled to come to court until today.

A Welsh Office spokesman said the hearing was too late for it to be practical to reduce this year's tax bills without considerable administrative costs. The department stood by its original criticisms of Gwent, he stressed.

'So late in the year this could have had an adverse effect on council tax payers', he said. The Welsh Office will be writing to the council explaining its position and warns it could make another high court application after next year's budget has been set. The dispute arose over the way the council budgeted for its two grant maintained schools.
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