11:21 Tuesday 14 January 2014

'Services will not suffer' from £2 million of cuts

Written byRICHARD CASTLE

EAST Staffordshire Borough Council is looking to again freeze council tax - despite immanent cuts to its budget provided by the Government.

Authority bosses have been speaking after the announcement of £5.2 billion of cuts to local authority budgets during the 2015/16 financial year.

And the borough council, which provides services including refuse collection, Uttoxeter Leisure Centre and planning services, will have to find nearly £1 million - around 14 per cent of its annual budget - of savings during the next fiscal year.

And the authority has told the Advertiser it is to face further similar cuts in 2015/16.

Public sector union Unison has revealed councils across England have been forced to cut £11 billion for their budgets since the coalition came to power in 2010.

And research conducted by Unison shows East Staffordshire Borough Council was forced to cut expenditure on services by £3 million between 2010/11 and 2012/13.

Ravi Subramanian, the Unison regional secretary covering Uttoxeter, said: “The figures showing that almost £11 billion in real terms has already been cut from council budgets are truly shocking.

“They reveal the true scale of the devastating cuts that took place in the first two years of the Coalition government and it is alarming that the worst is yet to come, with another £5.2bn of cuts planned by 2015/16

“This will reap further devastation to community services, increase regional unemployment levels and damage the local economy.”

When asked how the borough council would deal with the cuts, an authority spokesman said: “External auditors have stated the council is prioritising resources within tighter budgets, achieving cost reductions and improving efficiency and productivity.

“We are working on our 2014/15 budget with a view to introducing another council tax freeze.

“We are a council that will look to accommodate cuts without impacting our front line services.

“The percentage reduction figures presented by the government take into account the impact of this reduction on the council’s overall funding levels including, for example, council tax, in order to dampen the impact of the reduction.”

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