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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 18:30 GMT 19:30 UK
Council capped over high tax rise
Shepway District Council
The council now
A council in Kent has been told by the government its budget will be capped after it proposed a 39% tax rise.

Shepway Council is one of five local authorities to be penalised by Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford.

The authority reduced its initial rise to 29% but now it has been told to slash it further to 20% meaning savings of 600,000 will have to be found.

But the council has said it does not plan to cut any front-line services because of the reduction.

Linda Cufley, leader of Shepway Council, said: "No front line services have been identified to be cut at this stage.

There is simply no justification for excessive tax increases
Nick Raynsford, local government minister

"We have looked at everything and we have found there are ways we are working where we can reduce our expenditure in areas which will not affect front-line services and that will be our main priority."

Mr Raynsford said: "We are keeping our promise to act on high council tax increases.

"Today's announcement shows all authorities the government means business.

"We have increased funding to local government by 30% since 1997. There is simply no justification for excessive tax increases."

The Liberal Democrat-controlled council says it was left a legacy of financial difficulties from the previous Conservative administration.

The first reduction from 39% to 29% saw the authority faced with saving 674,000 .

It decided to save some of the money by getting rid of grass verge cutting which was costing tax payers 50,000 a year.

It was also proposed to shut all public toilets in the district but backed down and agreed to keep some open.


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