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NORTHANTS SLAMS BERESFORD

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Northampton BC has accused environment minister Sir Paul Beresford of giving MPs inaccurate information about finan...
Northampton BC has accused environment minister Sir Paul Beresford of giving MPs inaccurate information about financial problems relating to a council-owned property.

Sir Paul told the Commons that Northampton had asked the government for£1 million a year to cover loss of rent on the building.

He said: 'Some years ago the council was advised by its treasurer to sell it, but it refused. It is suffering from its own inefficiency and expects the government to bale it out.'

The council denies it made any such request, or that it had received advice to sell the property, Greyfriars House, which is to be vacated by its current tenant later this year. This will lose the council more than£500,000 in rental income in 1997-98.

Geoff Howes, chair of Northampton's finance and general purposes sub-committee, said: 'We asked Sir Paul to allow us to increase out spending limit slightly to enable us to set the same council tax level in 1997-98 as we set in 1996-97.'
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