Eastlondonlines boroughs are to be among the worst affected by next year’s budget cuts for local authorities.
The Government has announced that on average local council’s in England will have their funding cut by 1.8 per cent from 2015.
Croydon will face the average cut rate, Tower Hamlets’ spending will be reduced by 5 per cent, Lewisham by 5.5 per cent and Hackney by 6.3 per cent.
The highest drop in budget will be 6.4 per cent in 20 areas including the City of London. Central government funding for all English councils will be reduced by 8.8 per cent.
A Tower Hamlets Council spokesperson said: “Because of government cuts, we have to make £100 million of savings. So far, we have managed the impact of government funding reductions, but we will have to make difficult decisions in the near future.”
Findings in the National Audit Office’s report show that, in real terms, the cuts represent an overall drop of 37 per cent in funding government funding to local councils between the years 2010-11 to 2015-16.
It goes on to say that: “This equates to 25% of local authorities’ total income when taking into account council tax receipts. The Department has changed the funding system to allow local authorities to keep a share of locally raised business rates.”
“The Department intends these changes to provide local authorities greater flexibility and incentives to increase their income.”
Speaking to Eastlondonlines, New Cross Labour councillor, Joe Dromey was sceptical that the figures released were accurate.
He said: “We’re currently working out what the figure is but it’s far more than 5.5 per cent. It’s estimated that the national figure is 8 per cent this year alone.”
“The seven councils with the largest cuts are in the most deprived areas with the least five cut areas controlled by the conservatives. Some of them have got an increase.”
“Osborne said we’re all in this together, obviously that’s not true.”
Labour councilor for Haggerston Jonathan McShane called the government’s decision to cut Hackney’s funding by the largest amount, yet increase Richmond Upon Thames’, as “completely indefensible”.
Government cuts to councils. Hackney gets biggest cut in London whilst Richmond upon Thames gets a rise. Completely indefensible.
— Jonathan McShane (@jonathanmcshane) December 19, 2014
This echoes Leeds central MP Hilary Benn’s view who said: “Once again, it is the poorest communities that are being hit the hardest in the local government settlement.”
In an interview in November, Newcastle council’s leader Nick Forbes warned that increased cuts could lead to growing social unrest and render many public services “completely untenable”.
He said: “My very real concern is that … well, if this level of cuts continue, even our statutory responsibilities, like children’s social care, will be affected. What frustrates me like nothing else is how deaf government is to this argument.”