Bigger cut to council budget on the cards
Shock new figures revealed by the Coalition Government suggest our £127 million cuts target will soar by an extra £30 million over the next five years.
In an unexpected consultation on council spending levels, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) indicates its plans for:
- a 27.6 per cent cut in support grant between 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 − costing the council £21.2 million more than expected.
Further recent announcements that will impact on the council's budget include:
- changes to National Insurance contributions − costing the council £3 million
- further limits on council tax increases − costing the council £1.3 million
- top-slicing the New Homes Bonus − costing the council £3 million
- cuts to the Education Support Grant − costing the council £2.5 million.
Council Leader Councillor Anne Western described the potential changes outlined by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles as extremely challenging.
"We're already facing a massive £127 million cut to our budget. But the latest news to come from Mr Pickles' department is that it will increase to £157 million.
"It is high time the Secretary of State stood up for local government and the vitally important local services it provides. And we have no guarantee that this is the end of the cuts imposed by the Coalition Government."
Councillor Western added:
"Mr Pickles and his coalition government are placing an impossible burden on councils. They have already demanded more cuts to council spending than to any other public service − including their own departments.
"By 2015, council budgets will have been cut by a third. It is grossly unfair when Whitehall departments have cut just 12% from their spending over the same period."
Councillor Western has written to all Derbyshire councils calling on them to join together in a bid to secure a fairer deal for Derbyshire.
"Local people rely on our services. We provide a trusted and vital lifeline for thousands of vulnerable people in their own homes. The Coalition Government is making it almost impossible for councils to deliver even a basic level of service − important services that our communities rely on.
"Together we stand a better chance of being listened to. But a budget hole of this size will mean the end of some services − there's no way to avoid them. But we will consult and talk to local people throughout so they have the chance to help shape what we do."