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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 December, 2003, 07:01 GMT
Troubled council considers tax rise
Council tax payers in Cumbria are likely to get an idea of how much their council tax bills will rise when councillors discuss the issue on Tuesday.

The increase looks likely to be around 4.6%, following an increase in the amount of grant cash from the government earlier this month.

Last year Cumbria County Council increased its share of the council tax by 11.9%.

This year the controlling Conservative and Liberal Democrat alliance want to bring in a much lower increase.

Government inspectors

But the figures are still to be agreed by the full council in February.

The final bill will also include a share for the police authority and district councils.

An increase of 4.6%, which is still well above the 2.6% rate of inflation, will see an owner of a band D property paying about 38 extra a year.

Earlier this month Cumbria County Council was criticised by government inspectors for offering a "weak" service to council tax payers.

The Audit Commission study highlighted poor management and problems in social services.

The report downgraded the authority's performance from "fair" to "weak", and said not enough work had been done to improve the problems highlighted in the December 2002 report.

And in November, the Department of Health rated Cumbria's social services as one of the worst in the country.

Council provides 'weak' services
18 Dec 03  |  Cumbria
Zero rating for social services
13 Nov 03  |  Cumbria

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