Council tax bills are rising everywhere, well almost. Not a lot in the North of England and not at all in Scotland. Now there's a surprise as we struggle with rising costs and a reduced central government subsidy down to 1% here, in the South of the country.
Leaders of councils across the South East have commissioned a special economic study to highlight the threats they now face from the Government's decision to redistribute money to the North.
Henry Smith, the chairman of the South East County Leaders, said: "Whitehall needs to stop taking the South East for granted."
Local authority leaders said it was well known that northern cities were "swimming in cash" this year.
A spokesman for St Helen's Metropolitan borough council, which is imposing only a 2.5 per cent rise in council tax for 2008-09, said: "The northern councils seem to have benefited much more this year, there is a great deal of muttering from the southern councils.
"We have seen a 5.5 per cent increase in our central government settlement and we are obviously very happy with that."