Monday, 15 September 2014

Politics: Council cuts to hit £100 million by 2017

Calderdale has seen a £100 million cut in council funding since the coalition government came into power in 2010.

Calderdale Council’ s Cabinet is currently looking atways it can cut a further £14.5 million from the council’ s expenditurewhich has alreadyseen reductions of £86 million.

Projections outlned in a report toCalderdale Council’ s Cabinet suggest thatif cuts continueat their current rate, by 2020 there willno council funding provided bycentral government.

Councillors havesaid that the cuts havebeen difficult for the council toabsorb and haveadmitted that they are struggling tofind further reductions.

Deputycouncil leader Scott Benton (Con, Brighouse) said: “The first major sticking point is for the financial year 2017/18 where we’vegot£14 million worth of savings tofind.

“We’ve already agreed savings in excess of £50 million over the last fiveyears or so.”

The level of cuts which have b een re qu ir ed have equalled 33 times the total budget allocated tolibraries across Calderdale.

The revelations haveangered members of the Labour party who haveaccused the Government of going too far with its austerity measures.

Councillor Tim Swift, leader of the Labour groupon Calderdale Council, said: “A lot of the the impacts of this have been hidden so far - there’s less support for council staff and theyarebeing asked to takeon responsibilities that theyhaven’t necessarily been trained for.

“It’ s such a large number to try and get your headaround - it’stwice whatwe spend on care for the elderly.

Halifax Labour MP Linda Riordan (pictured) said: “This is another example of the crippling cuts northern towns like Halifax havesuffered since this Government came topower.

“It’s time public services and public sector workers werevalued and invested in.

“Insteadwe havethis constant cycle of year-on-year cuts, which does nothing to
improve the lives of people across Halifax and Calderdale.

“It’ s time Northern towns weremade tofeel valued not victimised. ”

The reductions in funding come atatime when local authorities are seeing an increase in social care costs due toan aging population and an increase in the number of adults with severelearning difficulties.

The report also identifies increased financial pressure from Carbon Reduction Tax and whatits authors call “ other infla tionary pressures."

According toarecent report bythe Office for Budget Responsibility, by 2020 the share of funds handed tothe public sector will be lower than it was before the Second World War.

The plans todeal with the proposed cuts will be put to Cabinet on Monday.

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