The Government has found extra funding to help out councils in rural areas and councils in the south – but Nottingham and other places hit harder by Government cuts have been overlooked.
Councils heard on Monday about the final financial settlement they are getting from the Government for 2016/17 – with Nottingham City Council’s main grant confirmed as being cut by £15.4m to £58.4m. The figure has halved in the last two years and has dropped by £102m over the past five years – a much harsher drop than for many more affluent places.
Local Government Secretary Greg Clark also announced a ‘transitional relief scheme,’ a fund of £150m a year for the next two years, and a further £80.5m for rural areas next year, to help councils cope with the ongoing cuts.
But some of the areas hardest hit by the cuts like Nottingham have not seen any additional funding, while others which have not seen anything like the reductions experienced by cities like Nottingham over the past five years have benefited from the scheme.
Surrey gets £12m, Hampshire gets £9.5m and Windsor and Maidenhead who, over the past two years have gained £34 per household in spending power while Nottingham loses £254 per household, will receive an additional £1.3m next year.
The final settlement also confirms that Government grant for day-to-day services will disappear by 2020 with the Government expecting the gap to be filled by Council Tax rises and business rate income. The Government has also confirmed its social care precept at 2% on top of Council Tax to go towards spiralling social care bills. But in Nottingham this will raise only £1.8m – well short of the £4.7m needed to care just for the additional elderly and disabled people requiring services each year.
City Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Graham Chapman, said: “It seems clearer than ever that this Government is robbing the poor to give to the rich. Since 2010, cities like Nottingham with higher levels of deprivation have consistently been hit harder than more affluent areas by Government cuts.
“If we are to continue to provide services our residents rely on, George Osborne has left us with no option but to accept his 2% levy on Council Tax to pay for adult social care, on top of his expectation that cash-strapped councils will increase Council Tax.”