Hartlepool Borough Council budget slashed by £8.3m

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

COUNCIL bosses have pledged to do all they can to prevent more cuts to services after the Government announced a savage reduction in funding for the next financial year.

Having already been forced to deal with less cash from Whitehall over recent years, more tough decisions lie ahead after it emerged that the local authority was to get £8.3m less in the financial year 2015/16 than it had in the previous 12 months.

For 2014/15, Hartlepool Borough Council was given a funding pot of £56.3m but that drops to £48m from next year.

Despite the blow, the council has insisted that it is able to cope with the reduced income.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We are still assessing the detail of the grant settlement for 2015/16, but the early indication is that it is broadly in line with what we were anticipating.

“The council has faced massive cuts in funding and for 2015/16 the Government is cutting our main revenue grant by £8.3m, which is hugely disappointing.

“Since 2010/11 the main revenue grant has been cut by 39 per cent, which equates to a £30m reduction.

“The cuts continue to place immense pressure on council services and we will continue to lobby the Government at every opportunity in seeking a fairer deal for the people of Hartlepool.

“The council is managing these financial challenges well and has a clear Medium Term Financial Strategy in place.

“We still face a number of financial challenges, but we will continue to invest in Hartlepool’s future and provide an excellent range of services to people in the town.”

Across the UK, the total amount of cuts given to local authorites amounts to £2.5bn.

The Local Government Association said that reduction would push many councils to “breaking point”.

LGA chairman David Sparks said: “The savings of more than £2.5 billion councils need to find before April will be the most difficult yet.

“We cannot pretend that this will not have an impact on local government’s ability to improve people’s quality of life and support local businesses.

“It is individuals who have paid the price of funding reductions, whether it is through seeing their local library close, roads deteriorate or support for young people and families scaled back.”

But Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins told the House of Commons that the cuts were “fair”.

He said: “The local government settlement is fair to all parts of the country - North and South, rural and urban, city and shire - therefore every council should be able to deliver sensible savings while protecting frontline services for local taxpayers.”