The BBC has revealed that three government departments have opposed a policy for curbing greenhouse gas emissions (LINK). The three Departments are Transport, the Treasury and Business, Innovation and Skills. The Guardian has also revealed that Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable has ‘refused to support new carbon reduction targets recommended by the Committee on Climate Change’ (LINK) cashing with the Lib Dem Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne.
Meanwhile the Government has imposed the Carbon Tax to local council’s shedding their responsibility for dealing with pollution to local authorities, when climate change is clearly a problem that needs tackling on a national and international scale also.
As a result, Brent Council has had to pay nearly half a million pounds towards the Carbon Tax at the same time as having our budget reduced by £105 million. The Carbon Tax was highlighted as a service area cost pressure in Brent’s budget (LINK), largely because it was an unexpected cost that was bunged on to Councils.
Further to my post of Central Government Grant reductions here, I mentioned that I would provide greater detail to reduction in Central Government Grants allocated to Brent Council. In particular, this blogpost will focus on reductions to the Performance Reward Grant.
I cannot stress the importance of Central Government Grants to Local Authorities. Brent Council receive around 80% of our funds from Central Government. 20% is raised through Council Tax.
In simplified terms, the Performance Reward Grant is awarded to Local Authorities to provide services. Reductions from the Coalition Government to our Performance Reward Grant impacted on multiple services. Below are just some of those impacted:
- £71,000 cut to Domestic Violence Prevention Programme. This money contributes to an advocacy advice service.
- £60,000 Volunteering Programme cut which was previously funded through the Performance Reward Grant.
- £287,000 cut in Sports Development for disabled children and diversionary activities for children at risk of getting involved in crime schemes as well as encouraging adults to be more physically active.
- £90,000 cut the Performance Reward Grant which was used for the Sustainability Green Zones scheme. Project support funding from National Government was halted resulting in the loss of two members of staff.
- £155,000 cut to a range of work to tackle Climate Change. Brent may now only be able to pursue meeting statutory minimums in this area.
- £100,000 cut to Library funds which was to be spent on improving library book stocks.
- £83,000 cut to Private Housing Services which was set to be used to meet the demand needed for the Disabled Facilities Grant. This Growth would have provided two new surveyors for Brent.
- £90,000 income maximisation cut which focused on reablement and hospital discharge projects. This was to support 500 people between the summer and March 2011.
Stay tuned for the hidden grant cuts to Children and Families Grants, the sector for which Brent Central MP Sarah Teather has Ministerial responsibility for throughout the whole country. The impact on cuts to these services to Brent is despicable. Especially seeing as we have a Government Minister imposing these cuts on our own children.
The moves that we have made show our commitment to making Brent a greener Borough. Our revolutionary Waste Strategy sets a vision will lay a platform that aims to increase our recycling rates and this recent proposal reported in the Telegraph reaffirms our commitment to contributing as a local authority in combating the negative impact of climate change.
LINK TO ARTICLE
Our incentivised based approach directly shows a stark contrast to the Coalition Government’s slash burn, cut and force approach.