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Local MP slams Government over annual council grant settlement

December 1, 2006 11:28 AM

Local MP Tim Farron has slammed the Government over the annual grant settlement for South Lakeland District Council.

Once again, South Lakeland has been given the lowest settlement in Cumbria - its Government grant (which makes up around three-quarters of its income) will rise by just 2.1% - well below inflation. As a result, the council will be forced either to raise council tax by more than inflation to compensate, or make further cuts to essential services.

Speaking earlier today, Tim said: "The Government should not be able to hold councils to ransom in this way. Ruth Kelly will be the first to complain when councils start to announce above inflation council tax rises - but the blame lies firmly with her department."

Tim has submitted two parliamentary questions to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly, asking her to review this year's grant settlements given that they are, on average, 1% below inflation. Tim has also written to Ruth Kelly to demand that she agrees to an invitation to meet a cross-party delegation from South Lakeland District Council that was issued a year ago.

Tim continued: "A delegation from South Lakeland asked to meet Ruth Kelly to talk about the difficulties the council faced as a result of low grant settlements 12 months ago. It is disgraceful that she has so far refused a meeting - which suggests she has something to hide."