The government has finalised the funding settlement for local
authorities for 2004-5 amid growing concerns that it will force
many councils to cut services.
Despite councils receiving an average grant increase of 7.3 per
cent next year, many fear it will not be enough in view of tougher
rules forcing councils to pass all of their education grant
increases on to schools.
To maintain other services, some councils want to increase council
taxes. But the government has already warned 56 authorities that
“excessive” rises will not be allowed.
Cambridgeshire Council, meanwhile, has confirmed it is to appeal
against the government’s decision not to allow it to spend extra
schools money on other services (news, page 11, 22 January).