Councils 'need extra pounds 1.5bn to meet costs'

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LOCAL AUTHORITIES yesterday said they will need to spend another pounds 1.5bn next year before any allowance for inflation in order to meet growing pressures which include an extra 110,000 school pupils and rising numbers of elderly, writes Nicholas Timmins.

In the opening shot of next year's council spending round, the local authority associations detailed what they see as extra spending needs, including demands for community care and policing.

Councils are hoping to persuade Government departments to agree the extra spending pressures before settling on an increase needed for pay and prices which could take their estimate of extra spending next year to about pounds 3bn above this year's pounds 42bn spend, even after efficiency savings of pounds 250m.