Millions set to be slashed from council budgets

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East Lindsey District Council was amongst the hardest hit when the provisional local government finance settlement was announced - with their budget cut by 6.4 per cent.

It will mean a £1.2 million reduction in ELDC’s ‘spending power’ next year - going from £18.865 million to £17.658 million. Overall funding - tacking into account things not coveredby revenue spending power - has been cut by £1,846,528 - which equates to 15.7 per cent.

ELDC’s deputy leader Craig Leyland described the reduction in the Government grant as ‘deeply disappointing’ and admitted it would increase pressure on front line services. He said: “It just confirms the view that rural counties are being absolutely hammered by cuts like this.

“As an authority, we have always tried to maintain front line services and we will continue to do that by trying to reduce costs but obviously it is going to be a challenge.”

Coun Leyland revealed the Government is likely to ‘cap’ increases in district council’s share of council tax bills at two per cent which would raise around £100,000.

He claimed the actual increase needed to balance the books was around 14-15 per cent but accepted that ‘will never happen’.

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill has said the overal settlement ‘was in line with what we were expecting’ - 14.6 per cent, a £33.4 million cut.

“Over the last few years, we’ve successfully managed to save around £150 million from our annual budget, while still protecting frontline services,” he added. “However, these new savings will be much more challenging to make, and will mean we have to review our priorities again.

“Unfortunately, the county is still underfunded compared with more urban areas, so we’ll continue to push the Government for further funding for rural counties to make sure we get our fair share in future.”

Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins stated the settlement ‘is fair to all parts of the country – whether north, south, urban or rural’.

He added: “I am also pleased to announce that all nine authorities eligible for Efficiency Support Grant in 2014 to 2015 (Great Yarmouth, Burnley, Chesterfield, East Lindsey, Barrow-in-Furness, Bolsover, Hyndburn, Pendle and Hastings) will have these amounts incorporated into the settlement for 2015 to 2016.”

Spending power measures overall revenue funding available for local authority services. It needs to be approved by the House of Commons.