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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 November, 2003, 09:04 GMT
Warning over council tax rise
Council tax protester
Devon pensioners have led protests against council tax rises
Residents in Devon face a huge council tax rise and cuts in services.

Brian Greenslade, leader of Devon County Council, called the government's latest spending settlements for local authorities a "shabby blow to Devon".

He said most of the 4.2% rise would be swallowed up by government demands for a big increase in spending on schools.

And he warned there could be another double-figure council tax rise - following the 18% rise this year.

There is a limit to what people can afford to pay
Brian Greenslade

He said: "We are very conscious of the affects of council tax rises on local people, particularly in a county like Devon where there are a lot of people on fixed incomes, like pensioners.

"So I think we shall be looking at an increase in council tax and cuts in services, but there is a limit to what people can afford to pay."

Mr Greenslade said that if the council tax was kept down to the rate of inflation, the council would have to make 22m of cuts to services.

Police encouraged

He said: "I don't think the rise will be as big as this year, but we will have to look at the impact on our spending.

"We have a grant increase of 15m next year, but the government is telling us that we have to pass on 14.2m to our schools.

"We have no objection to the schools getting the extra money, but that leaves just 800,000 to cover increased costs in all our other services."

In Torbay there is a provisional government grant increase of 5.9%, which the council says will lead to a large increase in council tax.

Devon and Cornwall Police Authority said it was encouraged with its increase of 3.25%, although it was still not enough.

In Plymouth the provisional increase is 3.7%. A statement from the city council said more work needed to be done to determine the effect on services and tax levels.

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29 Sep 03  |  Politics

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