Cash injection needed to avoid ‘catastrophic collapse’

A number of council leaders have written to Communities Secretary James Brokenshire demanding that a forthcoming cut in funding of £1.3 billion is cancelled to stop an impending ‘catastrophic collapse’.

With English councils facing a funding gap of £5.8 billion by 2020, the 80 Labour council leaders have stressed the need for the forthcoming cut in funding of £1.3 billion to be cancelled ‘at an absolute minimum’ ahead of this week’s financial settlement for local government. In their letter, they warn that by 2020, councils will have lost 60p out of every £1 they were given by central government in 2010.

The letter reads: “As leaders of councils representing millions of citizens, we are writing to make clear that you must use the settlement to truly end austerity in local government and immediately provide the funding we need to avoid catastrophic collapse in key council services. The most deprived areas of the country have been hit much harder than the richest areas - nine of the 10 most deprived councils in the country have seen cuts of almost three times the national average. After eight years of austerity, many councils have reached breaking point and council budgets are perilously close to collapse.”

“At an absolute minimum, you must use the funding settlement to cancel the planned further cut of £1.3 billion to next year’s Revenue Support Grant. To blindly press on with further cuts at a time when local government is on the brink of collapse would be hugely irresponsible.”

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