residents warned the Council tax will probably have to rise.
Local authorities in London and the south east could be forced
to put up council taxes and cut back spending on services
after ministers awarded above inflation funding increases
to many northern boroughs.
is one of the worst hit by the new system for sharing out
cash to councils. Its 3.5 percent increase in Government grant
is the lowest possible under the revised formula announced
last Thursday. The
national average is 5.9 percent with many northern councils
gaining increases of up to 12.5 percent.
could lose even more cash after ministers withdrew a number
of specific education grants. This will limit the overall
increase in Government support to around 3 percent. With
councils' wage bills going up by around 5 percent next year
this leaves Wandsworth with a shortfall of 2 percent in the
amount of money it gets from the Government.
council leader Maurice Heaster said ministers were misleading
the public with claims that increases were above inflation:
council spending goes on labour costs which are set nationally.
Wage rises in the coming year for groups like teachers and
other council staff together with increases in employers'
insurance are likely to push costs here up by around 5 percent.
may be above inflation increases for many northern councils
but these are being paid for by people in areas like Wandsworth.
only way the worst hit councils will be able to make up the
difference will be through pushing up council taxes and reducing
spending on services."