CUMBERLAND Council has unanimously passed a motion aimed at getting more funding from central government.

The vote was taken at a meeting of the full council at the Civic Centre in Carlisle on Tuesday (July 9) after councillor Tim Pickstone (Longtown, Lib Dems) proposed the original motion which he called "Crisis in Local Government Funding".

It was seconded by councillor Roger Dobson (Corby and Hayton, Lib Dems) but when councillor Lisa Brown (Currock, Labour), the deputy leader of the council, proposed an amended version councillors voted in favour of her version.

According to cllr Pickstone's original motion figures from the Local Government Association estimate that councils in England have a funding gap of £4 billion in the current two-year period.

He called for a proper long-term funding for local government to be put in place and, as a matter of urgency, to close the funding gap as well as a number of other measures to improve council finances.

Cllr Pickstone said: "After a number of decades of cuts in local government funding, accelerated in the last decade, we are witnessing a crisis that threatens the very fabric of our communities."

He added that half of English local authorities were not confident of having enough money to fulfil basic legal duties next year and one in five were in danger of issuing Section 114 notices either this year or the next.

"Our council, like many others, has been forced to make difficult decisions in the face of austerity measures imposed by successive Conservative governments," he said.

"These cuts have not been mere efficiency savings; they have been deep and damaging reductions that have eroded essential services upon which our residents rely.”

He said the impact of the cuts had been "profound" on essential services such as social care, libraries, public transport, housing and social care.

The Labour amendment also blamed 14 years of austerity for the funding gap and it urged the government to open up conversations with senior councillors and the council's chief executive and to look further at the multi-year settlement and a fair funding review.

Cllr Brown said they had spent the last year seeing the effects of reduced funding for themselves and there were challenges, particularly with social care, and as a council they should "lead by example".

Cllr Pickstone said he felt the amendment was not necessary and added: "We all agree that the finances are in crisis."

Cllr Dobson agreed that the 14 years of austerity had "systematically stripped funding" for local government which was at the front line and added: "Austerity is a poison."

Councillor Helen Davison (Belah, Green Party) said the motion would make a statement as a council and also blamed the situation on the 14 years of austerity. She added: "This is a relief that we no longer have a Conservative government."

Councillor John Mallinson (Houghton and Irthington, Conservative) said the new government had numerous problems to solve and added: "They aren't going to have the money for everything we want."

Councillor Mark Fryer (St Johns and Great Clifton, Labour), the leader of the council, reminded the Lib Dem members that the person stood next to Prime Minister David Cameran in the Downing Street Rose Garden was none other than Nick Clegg and he described austerity as a "lamentable disaster".

He said he felt the motion was too early, so soon after the General Election, as they needed to see what direction the new government was heading. He added that they had rewritten the original motion because "we felt it didn't fit with what we want to do".

When the Labour amendment, which was known as a substantive motion, it was unanimous with 35 members giving it their backing.