Council cops £6m cut in government cash

Central Beds Council's HQ
Central Beds Council's HQ

Public services across Central Bedfordshire are at further risk of cutbacks after the council’s funding from government was slashed by £6m last week.

As part of a nationwide reduction in local government funding Central Beds Council will see its grants reduced by 8% in April 2015, amounting to almost 40% in reductions over the last four years.

Across the country an average of 8.8% in cuts to funding were made, though the government has countered that the fall in councils’ spending power has only fallen by 1.8%.

The cutback for CBC places public services at further risk of budget slashes.

Speaking to the LBO, CBC leader James Jamieson said that there would be no “last minute salami slicing” from the council’s 2015 budget.

Cllr Jamieson added: “It is very challenging but we have put plans in place to avoid raising council tax and to safeguard frontline services...we are confident we can do this.

“It is becoming more challenging and there are further reductions in funding expected irrespective of which party will be in after the General Election.

“It is really hard work but staff and officers have done well to get us to where we do not need to raise council tax.”

CBC was due to publish its draft budget for 2015-16 today, which will be debated by council members in mid January.

After announcing the funding cuts local government minister Kris Hopkins suggested councils should consider using reserves, which stand at £21.4bn nationally, rather than cutting services.

He said: “Local taxpayers would be right in asking whether substantial reserves are necessary.”