Council fears more cuts

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THE region’s biggest council could be facing budget cuts of more than £200million over the next four years.

Durham County Council has already unveiled plans to cut £125million from its £1billion-a-year budget – a move that could cost up to 2,000 jobs.

But council leader Coun Simon Henig yesterday warned Government plans to stop redistributing income from business rates could cost a further £80million a year.

Money raised through business rates is collected nationally and pooled, then shared out according to population.

But the Government is considering allowing councils to keep cash raised locally, a move it is feared would benefit London and the South East at the expense of less well-off areas.

If approved, the change would come into effect in the financial year 2013-14, half-way through the council’s four-year financial plan.