Redbridge Council one of 76 local authorities demanding an end to ‘devastating’ government cuts
PUBLISHED: 13:14 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:14 06 December 2018
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Redbridge Council has joined with 75 other local authorities to demand an end to cuts from central government.
Today (Thursday, December 6) local authorities are expected to hear about how much funding each council will get.
Ahead of the announcement, 76 Labour council leaders have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire MP, stating that financial cuts have devastated local councils
Council Leader Councillor Jas Athwal said: “After eight years of continued austerity under the Tories, many councils have reached breaking point, some are now effectively bankrupt, putting vital services at risk and causing huge damage to communities up and down the country.
“The government must stop and listen to the warning signs that are now evident with councils looking over the cliff edge as residents suffer.
“The government must pull back and provide the necessary funding that Redbridge residents need and deserve to avoid a catastrophic collapse in key council services.”
In the letter seen by the Recorder, the signatories said that since 2010 councils will have lost 60p out of every £1 the last Labour government had provided for local services.
The correspondence also highlights that the “most deprived areas of the country have been hit much harder than the richest areas” and nine of the 10 most deprived councils in the country have seen cuts of almost three times the national average.
The council leaders including some of those representing some of the UK’s biggest cities such as Manchester and Birmingham have called for next week’s settlement to “at an absolute minimum, use the funding settlement to cancel the planned further cut of £1.3 billion to next year’s Revenue Support Grant.”
According to the cross-party Local Government Association councils are facing a funding gap of £3.9 billion just to maintain services in 2019/20, including £1.5 billion gap in adult social care funding, £1.1 billion gap in children’s services, £460 million in public health and £113 million in tackling homelessness.
Speaking at the County Councils Network at the end of November, secretary of state the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said 2019 will be a turning point in regards to funding.
“We need a fairer system. I want to see an approach to distributing funding that means councils can see and understand the link between the circumstances on the ground and the money that you receive – and I’ll be publishing a further consultation on this in due course,” he said.
“Ultimately, it will mean you have greater control over the money you raise – something we’ve reinforced with our proposals to increase business rate retention to 75pc.
“With more funding and greater control, I’m confident that our county councils can face the future with confidence.”
The MP said the budget in October was an investment in Britains’s future “ensuring we’re open for business”, cutting income tax for millions, increasing the national living wage, and backing public services, like NHS.
“The £1billion boost in local government will support some of our most vulnerable, tackling the mounting pressures around social care,” he said.
“We’ve put £650 million for adult and children’s social care in and this includes £240 million to ease next year’s winter pressures – just as we have done so for this year.
“And we’re funding the expansion of our successful children’s social care programmes to more councils, where we see high or rising numbers of children in care through an £84 million fund; and making a further £55 million available to the Disabled Facilities Grant in England.”