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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 December 2006, 08:20 GMT
Call for council grant commission
A town hall
Some councils say the government funding they receive is too low
Control over the level of government funding given to local authorities should be handed to an independent commission, a new report says.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said the move would ensure councils in England and Wales have enough money to ensure legislation is implemented.

It would also put an end to annual arguments over grants, it suggests.

The study will be sent to Sir Michael Lyons, who is compiling a report on council funding.

The government currently decides each year how much each council will be given in grants, which account for around 75% of local authority spending.

The rest is raised locally through council tax and charges such as housing rents.

Grants 'too low'

The LGA says giving the job of allocating government cash to an outside body would be a fairer way of determining grant levels.

The body would also advise on how grants should be distributed among different councils and work out the extra cost of implementing new government legislation.

The call for an independent finance commission comes days after councils and government were again at loggerheads over the latest grant settlement.

Ministers say the 66 billion going to councils in England next year is enough to fund services and keep council tax rises below 5%.

But many councils say their grant rise is too low - forcing them to choose between cutting services or putting up council tax.

Sir Michael Lyons is due to deliver his long-awaited report to ministers on the future of council funding later this month.

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