Further funding cuts ahead for local government

​Date: 18/12/2014

The Leader of Wakefield Council, Cllr Peter Box, said that further funding cuts for local government could spell the end of some of the public services on which people depend.

"Our cut in funding from Government has been more than 40% since 2011/12.

"We are already facing cuts of £38m next year – we cannot absorb further cuts in spending without this having a significant and noticeable impact on the services we provide to the public," said Cllr Box.

He was speaking on the day on which the Government announced its annual financial settlement for local government.

"While we are still examining the detail of the Government's settlement and its impact on our budget for the coming year, I can say categorically that more cuts are bad news for the people of this district.

"We are doing our best in very testing times to provide the services which people depend on, but our ability to do this is now seriously undermined by the relentless year-on-year cuts being inflicted on us by this Government.

"Today's settlement shows the Government is intent on making local government bear the burden of its spending cuts.  We will have no choice other than to cut frontline services. 

Cllr Box said that over the last four years the Council had delivered savings of £81m but was now moving into a financial situation where no more can be saved without a direct effect on public services.  

He said the Council was currently preparing its budget for 2015/16 which would be presented to Cabinet on February 3 and to the Council's annual budget meeting on March 2.

"We are currently asking people how they think we should save this £38m because it means some really tough decisions.  We do welcome public views but, at the end of the day, we have no choice – we have less and less money to spend and this now means we will be able to provide fewer services."

Cllr Box, who also chairs the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said the impact of the financial settlement would reverberate right across West Yorkshire.

"While dealing with the cuts in our own councils, we also have to look at how we operate as a combined authority and how we can use our combined spending power to generate jobs, houses and investment.

"The Combined Authority will have to look at where councils can do things together – not just on transport and infrastructure but on back office functions.  All the councils will rightly want to retain their own identities but we also need to look at the potential for sharing more services."