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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Carlisle council leader’s budget warning

Carlisle is facing a tougher budget next year than had been expected in the wake of tighter Government cuts it has been revealed.

Joe Hendry photo
Joe Hendry

And the leader of Carlisle City Council hit out at the move as senior councillors yesterday discussed the proposed tougher budget for the coming financial year.

Councillor Joe Hendry warned that the central government grant to the authority would be cut by 28 per cent by 2015/2016 - and further cuts of £1.38 million would need to be made by April next year despite £5 million being saved already.

Speaking at the final meeting of the council’s executive for 2012 he said that further cuts were being imposed including an extra cut of two per cent in 2014/2015 and the forecasted return on council investments slashed by half - from three per cent down to 1.5 per cent.

Prof Hendry said: “Britain is in a slump. It needs to stimulate growth in the economy. That is what we are trying to do in Carlisle. But we need help and support for our infrastructure projects from the central government.

“We really need EU funding too. And the help of our MPs and MEPs to bring EU funding to Carlisle.

“This slump will now go on until at least 2018. In the meantime over a million of our young people – an entire generation – will be on the scrap heap. Out of work and out of training. This is a criminal waste of human capital and a national scandal.”

He added that the council had produced the best budget that it could, despite the dire economic circumstances, but it was not the budget the city wanted or needed.

Prof Hendry highlighted several ways, including paying staff the living wage in a bid to boost the local economy and maintaining the current level of Council Tax benefits despite a 10 per cent funding cut imposed by the Government, in a bid to ease the pain for residents.

Councillor Les Tickner, the portfolio holder for finance, governance and resources, said he fully endorsed the leader’s statement as the authority’s capital spending had gone from £21,600,000 for 2008/2009 down to £9.038 million for the current financial year.

The draft budget proposes a third freeze on council tax rates.

It will now be subject to a period of consultation and is due to be decided by full council in February next year.

Have your say

If turkeys could vote there would not be a "turkey" Xmas.
Surely we do not need to ring the necks of our Councillors to drastically reduce their numbers ...or do we?

Posted by OLD LOCHINVAR on 29 December 2012 at 11:25

@Michael Owen - "God help us" - Sorry Michael, but as God is an imaginary construct, he is unlikely to help you or anyone else. Having said that, if I was absolutely desperate for help, I'd count on the fictitious being before I'd look to the likes of Farage. Come to think of it, the tooth fairy offers more hope of salvation than him.

Posted by Evil McBad on 27 December 2012 at 18:52

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