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Council Tax rise on the cards

HOUSEHOLDERS in Middlewich will be hit in the pocket by soaring Council Tax.

HOUSEHOLDERS in Middlewich will be hit in the pocket by soaring Council Tax.

It is estimated that the charge in Congleton Borough could go up by as much as 7% from April next year ­ well above the rate of inflation.

Council Tax-payers will foot the bill to pay for the gaping difference between Government funding and the cost of maintaining services.

Council leader Cllr Rod Fletcher said: 'We have got some very difficult decisions to make.

'We are already making a wide range of savings and obviously we do not want to reduce the level of services the council provides.

'We are looking at all possible ways of increasing income, but at the end of the day, we have a public duty to balance the books.'

Congleton Borough Council says it needs to spend an extra 4.7% in order to maintain its current levels of service in the next financial year, which begins in April.

But the annual Government grant to the council to help fund these services will only increase by 1.1% every year ­ well below the current inflation rate of 2.3%.

Congleton Tory MP Ann Winterton has expressed her disappointment in a blast at the Government, claiming residents living in average Band D homes in Congleton Borough could have to pay an extra £66 a year -­ more than three times the inflation rate.

Mrs Winterton said: 'Since they were elected, Labour have raised an extra £5 billion in Council Tax. The average household is paying £212 a year more on Band D properties.'

The council will determine its rate of Council Tax for the financial year 2002-2003 at a meeting in February, which will be added to the rates levied by Cheshire County Council ­ for such services as education and highways and the police authority.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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