The BBC is reporting that Councils in England face a 10% cut in funding from central government as part of the coalition’s spending plans for 2015/16 – LINK
The article quotes a Local Government Association (LGA) estimate that a 10% cut in spending would mean an average council having to find another £30m of savings on top of existing cuts. As we know, Brent is usually disproportionately impacted from Coalition Government cuts – LINK
10% savings on top of the 30% cuts to Council Budgets will simply mean that in Brent, we will have to simply stop doing some things and make some unpalatable decisions. Council Leaders including Cllr Muhammed Butt of Brent signed a statement agreeing that the cuts to local councils “simply cannot go on” – LINK
Furthermore, US President Barack Obama has rejected Osbornomics, saying that “we can’t simply cut our way to prosperity” LINK
Globally, the opposition against the Tory and Liberal Democrat approach is growing. But the approach from Nick Clegg and George Osborne and company is not changing.
I hope that the Brent’s three MPs Barry Gardiner, Sarah Teather and Glenda Jackson vote against this unfair budget on Wednesday.
Last night, Brent Council along with four others (Bromley, Croydon, Newham and Camden) set legal budgets for the next financial year.
When people are inevitably hit hard by swingeing cuts that have to be made, our Labour instincts have shown through our commitment to continue funding for Youth Centres and keeping our 17 Children Centres and the Welsh Harp Education Centre open. These services directly benefit young people and vulnerable people – groups that have been unjustly hit with service reductions during the rolling back of the Welfare State by the Coalition Government.
In addition, Brent Council will continue to fund the Brent Law Centre, Brent Citizens Advice Bureau and the Brent Private Tenants Rights Group. The Lib Dem / Tory Coalition’s policies on social housing and housing benefits are likely to increase the caseload on these organisations and lead to more demand in the services that they provide. With Big Society money invisible to access at the moment when services are needed NOW, it is only right that funding for these organisations that help the most vulnerable; people in poverty and often homeless, or facing the threat of being homeless are protected.
The Brent Liberal Democrats and Brent Conservatives abstained from the amendments to the original budget that led to these services being saved.
More London Boroughs are due to set their Budgets tonight.
Tonight the Council will be debating and the Budget for 2011/2012. Brent experienced an in year budget cut for 2010/2011 as additional pressures were put on Brent following reductions in our income on money that had already in some cases been spent.
We now tonight must pass a balanced budget incorporating the front-loaded cuts that have to be made as part of the £105 million in savings that we must make in our revenue budget. This is my first experience of a Local Authority Budget and as it stands at the moment, Brent will be making cuts in every budget for the whole Comprehensive Spending Review Period in years 2011/2012, 2012/2013 and 2013/2014. Tonight is only wave one.
Following the Comprehensive Spending Review, Brent will not know in detail our precise settlement from Sarah Teather’s Coalition until mid-December. What we do know is that these cuts will be front-loaded.
To put things into perspective, there are two astonishing facts about Teather’s Government’s cuts.
1. The average cut that Departments have to make following the Comprehensive Spending Review fall in the region of 19%
2. Brent Council has to make cuts of 27%
That’s right 27% – making the cuts disproportionately impact on local Councils. Indeed the cuts are designed to have the face of the Local Authority on them when in fact they are stemming from the Coalition Government.
I’ll be blogging more on the cuts in the next few days and weeks ahead.