Redbridge could lose £20m in government ‘bad news’ budget cut for councils

Another round of government cuts to council funding will be “bad news” for Redbridge, according to the council’s cabinet member for resources.

But deputy leader Cllr Ian Bond said the 10 per cent reduction to the local government resource budget, announced in last week’s spending review, will not have a serious impact on Redbridge until 2016.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, told the House of Commons “good councils” would “manage” on even tighter budgets.

He added: “If all the changes in local government and social care I announced are taken into account, the change for local government is more like minus 2 per cent.”

Cllr Bond said the cut could amount to around £20million for Redbridge, following £30m of savings already made.

He added: “It’s going to be extremely challenging but I think we are starting from a good position and we’ve done pretty well so far.

“Looking at next year, we’re confident we are well set up already and in 2015/16 we can probably manage with resources.

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“But whoever is elected next year will have to make some difficult decisions.”

Education is the only area with ringfenced funding, meaning all areas will be reviewed for cuts.

On top of the reduction, Mr Osborne announced another two years of frozen council tax, which is one of the largest sources of council income.

Cllr Bond said: “It’s good news for residents because it’s a significant bill but on the other hand it’s a bit of a trap for local government.

“Usually the freeze lasts for a few years so people are starting to wonder what will happen when it ends.

“It’s much more attractive for the government to put cuts on us rather than taking difficult decisions themselves.”

But he added that local councils are “better placed” to make changes in local communities.

Deputy Labour group leader Cllr Wes Streeting branded the spending review a “disgrace”.

He said his party would need “radical thinking” to tackle the spending cuts needed without sacrificing services if it wins control in the 2015 local elections.

He added: “We will be drawing up a list of clear promises we know we can deliver before the next election.”