Hartlepool council chiefs vow to overcome ‘ruthless’ funding cuts

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Civic bosses have vowed not to be beaten by the Government’s savage funding cuts and say it makes them all the more determined to succeed for the town.

Hartlepool Borough Council is to face a further cut in Government grant of over £2m in 2016/17 - on top of the £2.8m reduction it was already anticipating.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, council leader, described the Government financial settlement at the time as a “ruthless attack” on the people of Hartlepool.

He said: “Clearly, we have to review our financial position in light of the Government bombshell last week and a report is being prepared for the council’s Finance & Policy Committee which meets on January 11.

“The report will present councillors with a number of options as to how we can bridge the £2m plus grant loss which the Government has just taken away from us.

“This is a huge blow to Hartlepool, but I am confident that we will find a solution and that we can continue in moving the town forward.

“The shocking Government announcement last week makes me even more determined than ever to achieve the exciting ambition we have promised and we will not be beaten.”

Over the last five years Hartlepool Council has seen its main Government grant cut by almost 40%. By 2018/19, the Government will have cut Council funding by a whopping two-thirds.

The council is also having to cope with the loss of £3.9m in Business Rates every year following a recent appeal by Hartlepool Power Station to the Valuation Office Agency.

Gill Alexander, chief executive , said: “The Government financial settlement announced last week was a huge disappointment and once again Hartlepool has been treated very unfairly.

“However, we will not allow this to prevent us from continuing our work in seeking investment and growth to make Hartlepool a more attractive place to live, work, learn and visit.

“The Council is very ambitious about the town’s future and we will stay positive and find a way to work through this difficult period.”