Voters may get veto on council taxation

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Voters may be given the chance to block excessive council spending plans in a series of mini-referendums.

The Government is carrying out a review of local government finance and it is believed the idea of the referenda will be included in a forthcoming Green Paper, to be launched by deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. Under the proposals voters would be able to reject plans that would increase their council tax bills above a certain level.

While the proposal might be popular with the public, it is likely it would lead to disagreements between the Government and local councils. The cabinet is said to support the idea because it would help provide a way of dealing with its manifesto promise to put an end to capping of council budgets.

Last night a spokeswoman for the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions, said the Green Paper would be published within the next few weeks.