Livingstone cuts budget to avoid council tax cap

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Indy Politics

Londoners will be spared double-digit rises in their council tax precept from the Greater London Authority this year after the Mayor, Ken Livingstone, decided to find £9m of budget savings.

Ministers said this month that they were prepared to cap the finances of any local authority that failed to keep bill rises down to "single figures".

The Mayor had planned to increase the precept, which pays for police, fire and other authority costs, by 11.9 per cent. But Mr Livingstone, who was recently readmitted to the Labour Party, will today announce that he has revised his plans and bills will instead go up by 9.9 per cent, or 44p a week, The Independent has learnt.

The new figure, which will fund 200 extra firefighters and more police, means that the GLA will narrowly avoid the Government's upper limit. The Mayor's team has found £9m in savings from bureaucracy in the budget for Transport for London, while the Metropolitan Police Authority has also squeezed its costs.

The London Assembly could revise the budget next week with a majority of two-thirds.