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TORY 'BRIBERY' CLAIM AS LABOUR LAUNCHES LONDON CAMPAIGN

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The local elections should be a referendum on London's future, Labour said today at the launch of the party's Londo...
The local elections should be a referendum on London's future, Labour said today at the launch of the party's London election campaign.

Despite government 'chicanery', it is Labour councils which have led the way in keeping council tax bills down in London, said shadow environment secretary Jack Straw.

'More Labour councils have this year cut or frozen their council tax bills than Conservative ones in London.'

The Labour party will be fighting the elections on its record in power, he said.

It is standing candidates in every one of the 1,917 seats up for election - 75 more than the Conservatives and 308 more than the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Straw went on to 'reveal the full extent of the racket' which the government has been involved in concerning Conservative-run Westminster and Wandsworth.

In Westminster, central government grant and other external support accounts for 96% of council spending with council tax only accounting for 4%.

He went on to issue figures regarding Wandsworth's non-needs grant.

'Nowhere is the rot greater than in the government's special relationship with Westminster and Wandsworth councils,' Mr Straw said.

'But the special relationship goes much further than simply turning a blind eye to Italian practices. The government is involved in an increasingly desperate and transparent attempt to bribe the electorate in Westminster and Wandsworth.'

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