March 14, 2019 11.22 am This story is over 61 months old

Call for council cuts reversal as budgets reach ‘breaking point’

A call to end austerity from the council

Senior councillors in North East Lincolnshire will call on the government to reverse “devastating” cuts to local councils as budgets reach “breaking point”.

Councillor Matthew Patrick, cabinet member for transport and energy, will table a motion at a full council meeting next week to support a campaign by other Labour councillors calling for an end to the cutbacks.

Authorities across the country have seen a reduction in their revenue support grants since 2010, the main source of funding from central government.

North East Lincolnshire Council has seen its grant fall from £17.75 million in 2017/18 to just £8.9 million for next year, with a further £4 million cut expected by 2021.

Councillor Patrick said the authority has been one of the “hardest hit” having lost 60% of its government grants.

Grimsby Town Hall. Photo: David Wright

“Many council budgets are now at breaking point,” he said in his motion.

“Austerity has caused huge damage to communities up and down the UK, with devastating effects on key public services that protect the defenceless in society – children at risk, disabled adults and vulnerable older people – and the services we all rely on, like clean streets, libraries and children’s centres.”

He added that cuts have left authorities unable to cope with the increasing demand on adult social care.

A £1.3 million social care grant from central government for next year was dubbed a “sticking plaster” by former council leader, Ray Oxby.

The Labour-led authority recently increased council tax by 2.98% in an effort to balance its books.

The Breaking Point campaign, which is led by Labour councillors across the country, calls on the government to “end austerity” in local councils.

Councillors backing the campaign said authorities across the country are facing a £7.8 billion funding gap by 2025.

A further round of £1.3 billion worth of reductions are expected next year, they added.

Secretary of State, James Brokenshire MP. Picture: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Councillor Patrick will call on the authority to support the campaign and write to the Prime Minister calling for an end to the cuts.

Secretary of State for Communities, James Brokenshire MP, said the financial settlement for 2019/20 gives councils “more control” over their finances.

“I’m delivering a settlement which paves the way for a fairer, more self-sufficient and resilient future for local government and a brighter future for the people and places they serve,” he said.

“This settlement delivers a real-terms increase in spending for local authorities in 2019 to 2020 and gives them more control over the money they raise too, while protecting residents against excessive council tax rises.”

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