Cambridgeshire County Council Budget 1996

The County Council asked the Department of the Environment for permission to exceed their spending limit of 402.5M by 5.8M. This was the latest round in a long battle to get the Government Standard Spending Assessment (SSA) for Cambridgeshire raised to match the cost of living: high in the south but in rural northern Cambs less, which is the problem.

The joint leader of the Council, Peter Lee, reckoned that if Cambridgeshire was treated equally to Bedfordshire in getting an Area Cost Adjustment, it would receive 16M extra (CEN 20-May-1996).

However the Council damaged its case:

The Government and Parliament refused the request, saying that the Council's 53.8M reserves plus the SSA were adequate (House of Commons vote: 174 to 118).

The County Council has to pay the City Council 300,000 for sending out fresh Council tax bills for the lower amount (21 pounds per month off a Band D bill). The County Council has also had to raise charges for social services.

Subsequently an independent review of central government funding of councils concluded that Cambridgeshire should have about 10M extra. Cambridge City Council should have 240,000 more and the Police Authority 830,000.

[With Peterborough and Northampton getting unitary authority status, I wouldn't be surprised if Cambridge finally gets it soon: one of the major factors in such decisions seems to be Government antipathy to County Councils.]

See also: County Council must keep to Government budget, County 'robbed' by the Government and County's struggle for 10M from Government at ECOLN.


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