Councils facing big cuts to budgets

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Councils in our area are facing big cuts to their budgets.

In the provisional local government finance settlement announcement today (Thursday) Boston Borough Council and East Lindsey District Council are amongst the worst hit in the country - with their budget cut by 6.4 per cent.

North Kesteven District Council has been hit by a 4.4 per cent reduction and South Holland’s ‘spending power’ has gone down 6.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, West Lindsey is facing a 3.6 per cent reduction.

In monetary terms this means:

East Lindsey District Council

2014-15 revenue spending power: £18.865m

2015-16 revenue spending power: £17.658m

Difference: £1.207m

Boston Borough Council

2014-15 revenue spending power: £9.497

2015-16 revenue spending power: £8.890m

Difference: £0.608m

North Kesteven District Council:

2014-15 revenue spending power: £13.276m

2015-16 revenue spending power: £12.696m

Difference: £0.580m

South Holland District Council

2014-15 revenue spending power: £12.150m

2015-16 revenue spending power: £11.395m

Difference: £0.755m

West Lindsey District Council

2014-15 revenue spending power: £13.089m

2015-16 revenue spending power: £12.615m

Difference: £0.474m

Spending power measures the overall revenue funding available for local authority services, including council tax, locally retained business rates and government grants.

It needs to be approved by the House of Commons.

Coun Craig Leyland, deputy leader of East Lindsey District Council, said: “It is very disappointing.

“This just confirms the view that rural counties like East Lindsey are being absolutely hammered by cuts like this.

“We were preparing for the worst case scenario and that is what this is.

“As an authority, we have always tried to maintain front line services and will we will continue to do that by trying to reduce costs but obviously it is going to be a challenge.”

He said government would impose a two per cent cap on increases in Council Tax and added that wouldn’t make much different because it would amount to around an £100,000.

He claimed to plug the deficit caused by the latest cut, council tax would have to go up 14 or 15 per cent which ‘will never happen.”

Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins made the following statement: “In the context of this unprecedented challenge to public finance, we have yet again delivered a settlement that is fair to all parts of the country – whether north, south, urban or rural.

“English local government is expected to spend over £114 billion this year – around a quarter of all public spending. This settlement therefore recognises that local authorities continue to make a vital contribution to helping pay off the deficit.

“Once again the settlement leaves councils with considerable total spending power. As planned, we have kept the overall reduction to 1.8 per cent – lower than last year and one of the lowest levels of reduction under this government. If we include the funds that government has provided to support local transformation, the overall reduction is even lower – at 1.6 per cent.

“Councils facing the highest demand for services continue to receive substantially more funding and we are continuing to ensure that no council will face a loss of more than 6.4 per cent in their spending power in 2015 to 2016 – the lowest level in this Parliament.

“I am also pleased to announce that all nine authorities eligible for Efficiency Support Grant in 2014 to 2015 (Great Yarmouth, Burnley, Chesterfield, East Lindsey, Barrow-in-Furness, Bolsover, Hyndburn, Pendle and Hastings) will have these amounts incorporated into the settlement for 2015 to 2016.”