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INCREASE IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT GRANT WELCOME BUT LOCAL AUTHORITIES STILL UNDER PRESSURE

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LGA leaders today said the overall increase in funding for local authorities...
LGA leaders today said the overall increase in funding for local authorities

in the local government finance settlement* would boost local authorities'

capacity to improve vital services, but criticised further increases in

specific grants and warned that local authorities still faced substantial

budget pressures.

LGA chair Jeremy Beecham said:

'I am very pleased with the overall increase of 8% in government support for

local councils and particularly welcome the government's guarantee that all

local authorities will receive at least a 3% increase in cash terms - the

first time that all councils have been guaranteed a grant increase above the

rate of inflation.

'However, I am alarmed to see that the number of specific grants has risen

yet again, when only last week the government promised to achieve a

reduction by 2005-6.

'Many local authorities will still be facing substantial underlying budget

and council tax pressures across many local services including education,

care for the elderly and children's services. These result not only from pay

award increases across the public sector, but also from demographic changes

and new targets in areas such as recycling and waste disposal. All this,

together with rising expectations of local councils' ability to deliver ever

improving services, adds up to substantial pressures on local budgets and

council taxes.'

* See LGCnetfor full details.

LGA SECURES£18M FUND FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT IMPROVEMENT AGENDA

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