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WESTMINSTER AIMS FOR LOWEST COUNCIL TAX BILLS

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Westminster City Council expects to set the lowest council tax in England for the second year running, despite a su...
Westminster City Council expects to set the lowest council tax in England for the second year running, despite a substantial precept for the Metropolitan Police.

The council is due to approve a band D tax rate of£375 a year for 2000-01 - up£25 on last year.

The tax rise for the council's requirement's is just 1.8%, but the precept for the new Greater London Authority, which includes a substantial element for the police, takes the overall increase to 7.1%.

Melvyn Caplan, Westminster's Conservative leader, said: 'In the coming year we will achieve total savings of nearly£10m as part of our rigorous ongoing review of costs and income. At the same time, we have provided extra money for a number of essential services such as crime and enforcement, schools and community care.

But Mr Caplan attacked the government for forcing London council tax payers to pay an extra 17% for police services: 'We consider this huge rise in the precept, caused by government financing changes, unjustifiable - particularly at a time when the number of police officers continues to fall.'
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