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Last Updated: Friday, 16 July, 2004, 06:38 GMT 07:38 UK
Leader to stay at capped council
Shepway District Council
Shepway's council leader says she has the support of her group
The leader of Shepway Council, which had its budget capped by the government after proposing a 39% council tax rise, has survived a no confidence debate.

Linda Cufley was criticised by fellow Liberal Democrat members after the council was penalised.

She said: "I have the support of my group and will carry on as group leader and leader of the council as long as people want me to."

She said a no confidence vote did not happen after an amendment was carried.

'Comfortable win'

Speaking on BBC Radio Kent on Friday, after a meeting of the Liberal Democrat group continued late into Thursday night, she said: "We had a full and frank discussion.

"I won comfortably.

"We have come out of this as a stronger group and a united group."

She added that a cabinet meeting was being held on Friday morning, to finalise a report which would be put before the council.

Public toilets

The authority had wanted to raise council tax by nearly 40% and later reduced the initial proposed rise to 29%.

Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford then ordered the authority to slash the budget further to 20% meaning savings of 600,000 would have to be found.

At the time, the council said it did not plan to cut any front-line services because of the reduction.

The Liberal Democrat-controlled council said 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 the authority backed down and agreed to keep some open.


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