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Two councils slam government as £40m total cuts approved

Two councils have approved over £20m worth of cuts as both authorities slam an “ever increasing tough financial climate” due to austerity and a “totally unfair” year of drastic government cuts.

Doncaster Council and Nottingham City Council yesterday both approved budget proposals to make £21m and £23m of savings respectively, with substantial council tax hikes and job losses amongst the plans.

Nottingham council said its central government funding had fallen from £127m in 2013 to just £25m for next year, leading to difficult decisions such as the initial reduction of 27 jobs “with more likely.”

Other cuts at the authority include reducing Link Bus services, a range of changes to adult social care, reducing contributions to its youth centre, and a 2.99% council tax rise.

The council said independent analysis shows that places like Nottingham with higher deprivation have been hit harder by government funding cuts compared to areas such as Surrey, leaving the authority “with no other option” to enforce cuts and raise council tax.

Nottingham City Council leader Jon Collins went further, stating that the tenth budget in a row with funding cuts was made worse by the “totally unfair blatant favouring by government of Conservative-led councils in affluent southern areas.”

“It means setting this budget has been extremely difficult and we don’t take any pleasure in making decisions which detrimentally affect local service users.”

Doncaster Council has had to use some of its one-off reserves to meet its budget gap for 2019-20 and still forecasts a further deficit of £13m for the following year.

It has proposed a 5% council tax increase using the social care ‘precept’ to generate over £5m towards plugging the budget gap, but stresses that £323m will be given to capital funding for projects to stimulate growth over the next four years.

Mayor Ros Jones also slammed the government over a lack of certainty around local government funding.

He stated: “The government continues to cut our funding with no plans for the future.

“Doncaster has been hard hit and it is beyond belief that there is no firm plan for the sustainability of local government finances post 2020.

“It’s all well and good having individual funding streams and one-off pots of money that we can bid for but it’s no way to run public services.”


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