Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Council Leader Hits out ATTORIEs' Silence on Cuts

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Council Leader Hits out ATTORIEs' Silence on Cuts

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan O'Donoghue Local Government Reporter

RURAL communities across Northumberland will be "choked" by disproportionate Government cuts next year, county leaders have warned.

The Rural Services Network - which represents more than 250 local authorities and rural organisations - has called for urgent talks following the publication of the Government's provisional funding settlement for local authorities. The funding announcement, which includes plans bringing forward a 6% rise in council tax to fund social care, was made by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid on Thursday.

Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: "These cuts hit rural communities within the North and West of Northumberland disproportionately and there's nothing but silence from Northumberland Conservatives.

"Conservative cuts will see Northumberland residents valued at PS6.85 per head by this government yet residents in urban areas are valued at PS66.82 per head."

He added: "That isn't fair and now we're seeing huge cuts to schools budgets with over 260 teaching posts at risk and PS10m wiped from our education budgets.

"Local Conservatives say no to every policy put forward by Labour, yet they've not said a word about these savage cuts which hit old and young alike."

However Northumberland Conservative Group leader Peter Jackson dismissed Mr Davey's claims, saying that any hardship was down to Labour's "mismanagement of finances".

He said: "Grant is showing yet again a complete lack of understanding about local government finances. The balance of funding has been changing over the past five years so yes, there is less Government support, but Labour authorities are able to raise greater funds locally through business rates and council tax.

"The fact is Northumberland County Council has the same amount to spend as in the last year or two, this is a case of Labour-controlled authorities crying wolf again. …

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