Chancellor George Osborne delivers his Budget speech today (Wednesday 19th March), and MPs from the SIGOMA group urged him to stop short of further budget cuts for local authorities, some of which have lost as much as a quarter of their funding since 2010. Altogether funding for local government will fall by £20 billion by 2015/16.
Worse still, it is the areas with the most deprivation which have faced the most drastic reductions. The ten areas with highest levels of deprivation have seen their spending power reduced by ten times the amount of the least deprived.
South Tyneside Council’s spending power will have fallen by 24.2 per cent by 2015/16. Already the Council has had to make difficult decisions regarding service provision and staffing, losing over 1,200 jobs.
“Areas like South Tyneside have been bearing the brunt of the Chancellor’s cuts. Our council has had its spending power reduced by nearly a quarter, while over in the Prime Minister’s own authority of West Oxfordshire spending power will actually increase this year.
“The council has done all it can to make these savings without compromising services, but inevitably such a massive reduction in the budget has an impact on vulnerable people. The Chancellor must bring councils back from the brink and make sure his budget benefits areas like South Shields which have suffered the most under austerity.”
SIGOMA is calling for a full evaluation of the impact of local government cuts since 2010.