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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 20:40 GMT
Council to re-think 39% tax rise
Shepway District Council officer
The council voted 22 to 15 in favour of the increase
Councillors who approved what is thought to be the country's highest council tax increase have been told to re-think their figures.

Liberal Democrat-controlled Shepway District Council approved a 39% rise after a three hour meeting last week.

The local government minister Nick Raynsford, who warned councils he may cap increases of over 5%, has told them to look at their figures again.

Mr Raynsford met with the council's deputy leader and chief executive.

'Productive meeting'

A council spokesman said it had been a productive meeting even though the minister had not highlighted any specific areas where cuts could be made.

The issue will be discussed by Shepway's Cabinet this Friday and again at a special meeting of the full council on 11 March.

Councillors had approved a 67.40-a-year increase for an average band D property, making Shepway Council's portion of the bill 240.30.

The rise would have introduced an overall increase for an average home from 1,120 in 2003/4 to 1,247 in 2004/5.

It would have amounted to an 11.3% rise overall, because the total bill includes other elements, such as Kent County Council's council tax.

Council leader Linda Cufley has said it could cost the authority up to 100,000 if they are forced to send out revised bills.

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