Hartlepool council still ‘slick’ despite £4m cuts, says leader

Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher.
Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher.

A council chief says the town’s council is running a good, slick operation, despite facing millions of pounds worth of Government funding cuts.

Hartlepool Borough Council will have to make savings of £4.1m in the next year as the Government cuts hit the town hard.

Council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher addressed residents at a meeting of the South and Central Neighbourhood Forum and delivered a presentation on budget proposals for 2016/17.

The meeting Coun Akers-Belcher said Hartlepool had faced some of the highest government funding cuts in the last five years with the 2015/16 main government grant 39% less than it was in 2010/11.

He said in the North East there are a number of deprived communities and “we have been the hardest hit”.

But he told the forum: “For a town of its size we still have a number of libraries and community centres.

“I think-bearing in mind how hard we have been hit, we are still running a good, slick operation to run and maintain as many services as possible.”

He said the council will need to make £4.1m of departmental savings in the next year and in the next three years a total of £14m need to be made.

He said cuts average at £313 per household and the national average is £131 which as had a “huge impact” on the Hartlepool.

Despite the cuts, Coun Akers-Belcher said he hopes to freeze council tax for the coming year 2016/17.

Coun Akers-Belcher also addressed the North and Coastal Neighbourhood Forum during a sessions at Hartlepool Civic Centre.