Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North to Be Hit Hard by Council Funding Changes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North to Be Hit Hard by Council Funding Changes

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political editor

COUNCILS across the North East are to lose more than PS80m in funding next year, the Government has confirmed.

It means authorities will have less to spend on care for the elderly, libraries, child protection and all the other services they provide.

And many North East councils are suffering bigger cuts than those in other parts of the country.

Nationally, local council spending will fall by PS53 per household. But in Newcastle the cut will be PS86 per household. In Sunderland it will be PS79, and in South Tyneside it will be PS74.

By contrast, David Cameron's local council of Oxfordshire will have a funding cut of PS37 per household.

Speaking in the Commons, Newcastle East MP Nick Brown said: "Every single local authority in the North East will lose out."

And Newcastle City Council warned that it would be forced to cut "vital public services" to make ends meet.

The Government published the figures to show how individual local authorities will be affected by a PS1.7bn cut in Government grants for local councils nationwide announced by the Chancellor in his November Spending Review.

The numbers and are based on the total income for every council, including Government grants and council tax. They include measures which the Government says will help local authorities cope with cuts, such as the Better Care Fund, which provides extra funding for social care, and the New Homes Bonus, which gives councils money if they grant planning permission for new homes.

The figures also assume that councils choose to use new powers allowing them to increase council tax by 2% to pay for social care, which comes on top of the 1.99% council tax increase they can impose usually. In other words, it means that even after all the funds and schemes are taken into account, funding will be cut significantly.

They do not take inflation into account, which means the 'realterms' cut, including the impact of inflation, will be even higher.

Authorities which depend on central government grants are likely to suffer bigger cuts than those which raise more of their money from council tax - which also tend to be those serving wealthier areas. …

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