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PRE-BUDGET REPORT: NEW CASH FOR COUNCILS WELCOMED

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The£22m of additional funding announced by Ccancellor Gordon Brown in his pre-budget statement is welcome support ...
The £22m of additional funding announced by Ccancellor Gordon Brown in his pre-budget statement is welcome support for Welsh councils balancing the difficult choice between council tax increases or reducing vital services in 2004/05.

Sir Harry Jones, WLGA leader said: 'The Association welcomes this unexpected announcement from the chancellor and we urge the Welsh Assembly government to pass it to local authorities in full as publicly announced and intended by Gordon Brown and supported by Peter Hain, secretary of state for Wales.'

'We will need to examine the details more fully, but councils certainly need help next year if they are to maintain services whilst keeping council tax rises reasonable.'

'It should be noted that whilst the additional funding will be welcomed by local authorities, the increase of £22m is only a small percentage of the overall £4bn local government spending in Wales.'

The chancellor's announcement coincided with the approval of the local government finance settlement by the National Assembly. In a joint statement issued by the minister for finance and local government and the WLGA it is recognised that whilst the finance settlement reflects the circumstances of the Assembly's total budget pressures this year, it does not represent the increase in financial support that local authorities feel was necessary.

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