The Chancellor’s autumn statement pulls even more funding from councils, undermining their ability to provide vital local services.
That’s the reaction of the City Council’s Deputy Leader Councillor Graham Chapman to George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review.
Councillor Chapman said that the review had serious implications for looking after the increasing numbers of elderly and disabled people, even with the option of councils adding 2% to Council Tax towards social care costs.
And it lacked clarity and vision for business and growth, he said.
“I was looking for something that was going to bring growth at a time when the East Midlands economy is beginning to flatten, but this budget is deflationary, taking money out of the economy,” said Councillor Chapman.
“There was little in there for business and a confused approach to funding infrastructure – it was a bit of a dog’s breakfast. And it was a case of another budget, another set of housing proposals which follow the failure of the last ones.
“We have seen a grant reduction of £70m since 2013 and the Chancellor clearly intends to land councils with even more cuts in the coming years – with cities like Nottingham hit harder than most. These dwindling budgets, as well as delivering many other services, have to meet the increasing demand from a growing number of elderly and disabled people. This means finding an additional £2.5m this year alone which the 2% on top of Council Tax simply won’t cover.”
Councillor Chapman welcomed the removal of cuts to Tax Credits which he said would have had a devastating effect on many local people. However, he was concerned that the cuts would creep back in when Universal Credit is introduced.