BUDGET pressures in Hartlepool come as a new national report revealed local authorities in England will need to make huge savings before next April, equivalent to 12.5 per cent of their total budgets.
Councils face a funding gap of £5.8bn between now and the end of 2015-16, analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) found, adding the deficit will be caused by a combination of reduced government funding and rising demand on services, in particular from growing numbers of elderly people.
LGA chairman Sir Merrick Cockell said: “In recent years, local government has worked tirelessly to save billions while protecting services for those who need them most.
“But the scale of the challenge facing local authorities next year is stark. Council finances are on a knife-edge and the old way of doing things - including the way we care for our elderly population - just won’t work any more.”
Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The LGA’s doom-laden and alarmist claims lack credibility. Councils are balancing their books each year and, as the LGA’s own research shows, the public now thinks they are delivering better services than before.”