INDEX December 10, 1987
Ridley signals rate cuts of up to 44%

By Nicholas Wood, Political Correspondent

Rate reductions of up to 44 per cent were signalled yesterday by Mr Nicholas Ridley, Secretary of State for the Environment, as he unveiled cash ceilings for 17 high-' spending councils.

Ratepayers in Ealing, west London; Lambeth and Southwark, south London; Waltham Forest, east London; Middlesbrough, Cleveland; and Kingston-upon-Hull, Humberside, should all enjoy double-figure savings under provisional rate-capping figures announced by Mr Ridley.

The biggest reductions should be in Ealing (44 per cent), Waltham Forest (31 per cent), Middlesbrough (28 per cent), Lambeth (18 per cent), Kingston-upon-Hull (16 per cent) and Southwark (12 per cent). The biggest increase should be 12 percent in Tower Hamlets, east London.

Mr Ridley told MPs that the overall effects of the limits was an average reduction of 9 per cent in rate levels, equivalent to a cut of £140 million in this year's local authority bills.

Across the country as a whole, rate bills should rise by no more than about the level of inflation, he added.

Councillors in the ratecapped areas could refuse to set a legal rate, but after Labour's general election defeat and past traumas in areas such as Lambeth and Liverpool few are expected to want to risk surcharges.

Mr Ridley also disclosed that he was making concessions to councils to help with costs of clearing up after the October 16 storms. Grant penalties would be waived in the case of money switched from revenue to capital accounts and on debt charges incurred in repairs.

The Times December 10, 1987
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