Thursday, 26 November 2015

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Government to cut Cumbria council’s grant funding next year

Cumbria County Council is facing the full force of the Government’s austerity programme.

Ministers have announced that its grant funding will be cut by two per cent next year.

This is the money Government provides to go along side what is raised through council tax and accounts for a large slice of local authority budgets.

Cumbria’s core formula grant will be £134.4m.

District councils have fared better.

Carlisle City Council will get a 0.8 per cent increase, Eden a 0.4 per cent rise and Allerdale’s goes up by 0.2 per cent.

Copeland’s will fall by 4.6 per cent.

But their grants are much smaller. Carlisle’s core grant is £6.2m, Allerdale’s £7.0m and Eden’s £3.2m.

In addition to the core grant, councils receive some additional pots of money, for example to tackle homelessness and reduce the risk of flooding.

Nationally, grant funding for councils is falling by an average of 1.7 per cent.

Les Tickner, Carlisle City Council’s finance portfolio holder, warned that cuts would still have to be made even though Carlisle’s grant was increasing.

He said: “We are looking at it as a minor temporary respite but we are still going to have to look carefully at the services we have to provide.”

He added that Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles was planning to hit Carlisle with a two per cent cut in grant in 2014.

Speaking in the Commons yesterday, Mr Pickles said the Government would offer support for the third year running to allow council tax to be frozen.

He said: “This settlement recognises the responsibility of local government to fund sensible savings and make better use of resources.”

But his Labour opposite number, Hilary Benn, said: “It is clear that he is living in a world of his own, because he simply does not understand the impact that his decisions on funding are having.”

Carlisle City Council’s executive this week approved a draft budget that makes £1.38m of cuts in 2013/14.

Mr Pickles added: “Councils must keep doing their bit to tackle the inherited budget deficit because they account for a quarter of all public spending.”

Mr Pickles’ department has published 50 examples of where it believes councils can raise funds or save money, from opening a coffee shop in libraries to scrapping the post of chief executive.

Other ideas ending councillor pensions – no councils in Cumbria provide these – recruitment freezes, cutting spending on consultants and scrapping town-hall newspapers.

Unions have condemned the cuts. Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government, said: “Local councils are already under the Government’s financial cosh and these cuts will push many more vital services over the edge.

“By 2013/14 the spending review will have cut grants to councils by £4.3bn while handing companies £3.75bn in cuts to corporation tax. Where is the fairness in that?”

Have your say

mr pickles cut your pay from 65 thousand year plus 15 thousand a year .and all you m p s and we will all be happy

Posted by john ward on 4 January 2013 at 09:47

Year by year structures and services are both created and expanded. The current problem is the heavy annual financial pressure of maintenance and (eventual) updating/replacing those assets.All aggravated by the (much) higher % of the community which is either unemployed or retired.We created too much, borrowed to achieve and it is now pay-back time.

Posted by OLD LOCHINVAR on 3 January 2013 at 12:04

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