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LABOUR WARNS GROUPS NOT TO TAKE EXPECTED BAIT OF RELAXED CAP

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The Birmingham Post claims (p1) that the government plans to 'take the brakes off town hall spending' to tempt Labo...
The Birmingham Post claims (p1) that the government plans to 'take the brakes off town hall spending' to tempt Labour to push up council tax by as much as 15%,

In advance of the environment secretary's statement on local government finance on Thursday, the Labour party hierarchy is said to be already issuing warnings to Labour groups not to take the bait.

The Post says that if the details are agreed at a pre-budget cabinet meeting today, John Gummer will indicate that he does not intend to impose capping this year, whilst retaining reserve power to deal only with 'wildly excessive' rises.

Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, Jeff Rooker, warned councillors to be wary of any new freedom, reports the Post.

'I think there is an 80% chance of capping limits being greatly relaxed. It is certainly in the minds of ministers to set a trap,' he said.

'There is a lot of unmet pent-up need in the system. But we must use out brains and only embark on projects which can be wholly justified to the electorate.'

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