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January 2011

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As councils reeled from the icy chaos of Britain’s coldest Christmas on record, LGC’s first print exclusive of the year revealed they could see their coffers boosted by an extra £1bn a year if ministers adopted a less cautious approach to business rate collection and redistribution.

Paul Woods, lead technical adviser to the Association of North East Councils, said a review had shown that £20bn in business rates could be returned to English councils, against the projected £19bn.

Meanwhile, some of the biggest city councils were coming to terms with the fact that un-damped cuts in the £1.6bn Supporting People grant could hit them hardest, with a national reduction of 0.7% translating to a whopping 30% in some areas.

LGC exposed the rift between communities secretary Eric Pickles and Nick Clegg over the deputy prime minister’s desire for local taxes to be included in the Treasury’s resource review.

Famously outspoken, Barnsley MBC chief executive Phil Coppard dubbed Mr Pickles a “clown” for claiming councils could absorb funding cuts without affecting frontline services.

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