Hartlepool council facing “difficult decisions” in budget after £10m more cuts

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Hartlepool Borough Council finance chiefs have warned they are facing further Government funding cuts of almost £10million over the next three years.

The authority says it will have to make “increasingly difficult decisions” about where to save money after losing £44milion in Whitehall cash since 2010.

increasingly difficult budget decisions will need to be made over the next three years

Chris Little, Hartlepool Borough Council

A report presented to councillors said that by 2019-20 the council will be faced with a financial black hole of more than £12 million after additional Government cuts totalling £9.8 million.

Chris Little, chief finance officer told the Finance and Policy Committee: “In view of the savings made over the last six years, increasingly difficult budget decisions will need to be made over the next three years.

“The council has implemented significant efficiencies and budget reductions over the last six years to manage the impact of Government grant cuts.

“These measures cannot be repeated as the budget has either been removed completely, or cut to a minimum level.

“These measures have had a fundamental impact on how services are delivered and on capacity.”

The Government is phasing out its Revenue Support Grant with councils having to depend more on council tax and business tax rates.

Mr Little added: “The Government has confirmed that local authorities will continue to face further significant funding cuts over the next three years.

“For Hartlepool, this means a further cut in Government funding of £9.8m. The additional cuts will mean that by 2019-20 Government funding will have been cut by £44.2m from the level provided in 2010-11 – this is a reduction of 57%.”

Since 2010, the council has got rid of 430 staff posts which is more than 10% of its workforce.

Councillor Marjorie James said: “Each of those posts was occupied by an individual, the majority of which lived in this town.”

Overall, the authority says it is facing a budget deficit of £12.6 million between 2017-18 and 2019-20 – equivalent to 15% of its total budget for this year.