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[18 FEB 99] WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL CONSERVATIVE GROUP PRESS RELEASE
Conservative Group Amendment

Warwickshire has once again received a very poor settlement from Government. Despite consistently promising a review of the SSA methodology which has worked against out County for many years, any changes which may occur have been postponed for 3 years. The consequence of this is that, compared with the family average, Warwickshire is still 13 million short in Rate Support Grant - 13 million which should be invested in the Children, the Elderly, the Disabled, the Emergency Services and Roads in this County.

The Conservative Group believe that there should be a balance between the Council Tax people pay and the service provision. A Council Tax of 4.9%, which is higher than we would have liked, is in line with Government directives and does not incur any significant penalty, whereas the Labour Group’s proposals increase Council Tax levels by 7.8% including an approximate 300,000 penalty – money which should be spent on Warwickshire people and not thrown away. The Conservative Group feel departments should be encouraged to seek 2% Best Value / Efficiency Savings and reinvest these savings into Service Provision. Coincidentally, Government have urged Local Authorities to seek such efficiency savings.

The Conservative Group believe that the combination of a responsible Council Tax level and Best Value savings will mean that Council Services will grow modestly in Warwickshire in the year 1999/2000. We further urge the Government to give urgent attention to further work to adjust the existing flawed SSA formulae which continue to deprive Warwickshire of its fair share of national resources and in particular ask the Government to provide additional funding to meet the additional costs in excess of 2.5%, estimated at a further 1.4 million, of the 1999/2000 teachers’ pay settlement.
   

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