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Warwickshire given approval

Ministers have given Warwickshire approval to exceed its Government-imposed spending limit by Pounds 2 million - but turned down requests from Oxfordshire and Somerset to do likewise, writes Clare Dean.

Environment Secretary John Prescott gave the go-ahead for the extra spending in Warwickshire saying it reflected the pressure the county was under following capital investment in its schools' programme.

He said the expenditure limits for Oxfordshire, which had wanted to spend an extra Pounds 6 million, and Somerset, Pounds 3.3 million, were reasonable.

Somerset estimates that the decision puts 90 teaching jobs at risk and Chris Clarke, the county council leader, said it was a bitter blow.

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