PM considers meeting Hartlepool council chief over town’s financial cuts

Prime Minister David Cameron.
Prime Minister David Cameron.

Prime Minister David Cameron is said to be considering meeting Hartlepool’s council leader over financial cuts the town is facing.

Hartlepool Borough Council leader Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher has written to Mr Cameron as the council prepares for further major cuts in Government funding.

He says the town has been hit hard after seeing its Government grant cut by almost 40% in the last five years, with Government forecasts further council funding cuts of up to 10% per year over the next four years.

The council has also been hit by a £3.9m in business rates cut from Hartlepool Power Station after a Valuation Office Agency review.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, the Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, called for a meeting with Mr Cameron

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “I did receive an acknowledgement to my letter from the Prime Minister’s office earlier this week which said my request is currently being considered.

“I really do hope that the Prime Minister takes up the offer of a meeting so that I can demonstrate to him first hand just how unfair and unjust the austerity cuts are to Hartlepool and the detrimental impact they are having on many people’s lives.”

In the letter, Coun Akers-Belcher said: “Over the last five years (2011/12 to 2015/16) Hartlepool council has seen its main Government grant reduced by almost 40%. This equates to a cut in spending power per Hartlepool resident of £313, which is more than twice the national average cut of £131 per resident.

“ To me this does not feel fair and equitable, especially as the affluent Windsor & Maidenhead area has seen its spending power reduce by just £14 per resident.

“As a council I think we have handled the enormous financial pressures responsibly and professionally to best protect frontline services – particularly the most vulnerable members of our society – but inevitably some services have suffered such as subsidised bus services, library opening hours and assistance to community groups.

“I sincerely hope that you will take up my offer.”