Friday, 21 December 2012

Coalition cuts will destroy local government

On Wednesday, Eric Pickles (above) announced the latest financial settlement for local government. He told the House of Commons that the average cut to local councils was 1.7%. Putting spin into over-drive, he nonsensically claimed that it "represents a bargain to local authorities." 

Cornwall Cornwall was told it would face a cut of 1.8%, but this is a cut to its “spending power.”

This spurious concept of “spending power” includes estimates of locally-raised council tax, Town and Parish Council monies, some NHS funding, and so-called extras such the New Homes Bonus (which “rewards” councils that promote high levels of development).

The reality is that this equates to a much more significant reduction in Cornwall Council’s main formula grant but, as yet, these figures have not been released. I understand that, today, senior officers at Cornwall Council have been in contact with the Department of Communities to seek clarity on future funding for Cornwall. No such clarity has been forthcoming.

The utterances of Pickles are crass and offensive. And the spin that he put on the cuts is just dishonest. He does not understand local government or appreciate the hard work of council workers in providing vital public services.

Indeed, I would go further. If the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition does not reverse its cuts, it will destroy local government!

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