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A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government has commented on the news that the council leaders of Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield have warned of increasing social unrest and community tensions in the north.
The spokesman said:
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles prompted warnings of further reductions in services when he announced this month that English councils would have their spending power reduced by 1.7% next year.
Mr Pickles claimed the settlement represented a "bargain" for local authorities, adding that the Government would offer support for the third year so that council taxes could be frozen.
The Sunday Telegraph is reporting that more than 120 rural councils were weighing up a judicial review of the spending settlement for local authorities because it was "grossly unfair" and would hit services in remote areas.
Roger Begy, leader of Conservative-controlled Rutland Council and chairman of a new campaign called "Sparse", told the paper:
The Labour leaders of Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield - where Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is an MP - wrote to The Observer accusing Whitehall of "Dickensian" views.
The coalition is facing a damaging double-pronged assault from town hall chiefs who feel they are being unfairly punished by cuts in local government spending and rural authorities who claim that the shires are losing out disproportionately under the Government's cuts.
The council leaders of three of England's biggest cities - Newcastle, Liverpool and Sheffield - have warned of increasing social unrest and community tensions in the north, which they say has been hit worse by austerity than the south, in a letter to the Observer.