£190m cuts in spotlight

COUNCIL chiefs are facing the public’s reaction after the Government slashed a staggering £190m from the council’s funding.

Members of Durham County Council’s cabinet will consider an update on the authority’s Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) next week and discuss the impact the latest Government settlement has had on the its budget plan.

They will also hear how complex changes to the way councils are allocated Government funds mean the council will have a significantly reduced share of the central pot and they’ll learn what the public say about how the authority is handling the large budget cuts it faces.

Early consideration of the local government settlement means a revised overall budget reduction of nearly £190m by 2017.

More than £90m of that has already been saved with work underway on a wide range of other financial reviews.

But, members will be advised that precise planning continues to be difficult in light of uncertainties surrounding funding for education and public health.

The council also has yet to identify savings of nearly £53m which will be necessary between the years 2014/2017.

Councillor Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “We are making extremely tough decisions in very difficult financial times and it is pleasing to see the public response is largely positive to the way we have managed this situation so far.

“The uncertainties around some key budgets mean there may be a need for further financial adjustment when we make our final budget decisions in February, but we have promised to continue our discussion with the public so that we fully understand the impact these decisions have.”