Council budget cuts ‘put services at risk'
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Charities and councils have warned that children's services will be endangered by plans to cut local government budgets by 2.3 per cent between 2014/15 and 2015/16.
Chancellor George Obsorne today announced that central government funding for councils will be slashed by 10 per cent as part of the new Spending Round.
The move will see the total amount of money available to local authorities from central government, business rates and council tax is due to fall from £54.8bn in 2014/15 to £54.5bn in 2015/16.
Dame Clare Tickell, chief executive of the charity Action for Children, said the cuts would endanger services for children across the country.
“We are concerned about the hit local government has taken today,” she said.
“Local services, like children’s centres, have long worked at the heart of communities, supporting families by intervening early to prevent crises.
“Local government must be enabled to find a way to child-proof the impact of today’s spending decisions, so that the most vulnerable children do not end up falling through the cracks.”
Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children’s Society, said: “Disadvantaged children and families are set to pay the price for major cuts to local government funding.”
The Local Government Association warned that the reduction would “stretch essential services to breaking point in many areas”.
“Today’s 10 per cent cash cut comes on top of the 33 per cent real-terms cut already made to council budgets and confirms local government as the hardest-hit part of the public sector,” said Merrick Cockell, chairman of the Local Government Association.
“Local services on which people rely will have to be significantly reduced as a result.
“No area of spending can be totally immune and some services will be wound down entirely.”
Osborne also announced that automatic annual pay rises for teachers and civil servants will be abolished and that automatic salary hikes for NHS and prison staff will now be linked to performance assessments.
In addition, the police will not receive automatic time-served progress pay for two years.