Hartlepool councillors 'sick to the stomach' over impending budget cuts

Councillors from across political parties in Hartlepool said they felt "sick" over cuts they will have to make to balance the budget.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 7:11 am
Hartlepool Borough Council members have started to discuss how they will make budget savings for the 2022-23 financial year.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s finance and policy committee met on Friday, October 15, and discussed the financial picture for 2022-23 to 2024-25, where they face a £7.523 million deficit.

After initial comments were made on the budget, the committee went into closed session to discuss potential savings because of the “sensitivity” of information at this stage.

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Council deputy leader Councillor Cameron Stokell.

A further report will come back to the committee, and then go before full council for a decision to be made, in the coming months, outlining the proposed budget savings to residents publicly.

Speaking at the meeting, Labour’s Cllr Pamela Hargreaves said: “This sickens me, I was sick to my stomach when I knew we had to come to this.

“All of these cuts have severe implications on families, on individuals, on this council, on council officers, nobody is immune to what’s going on.

“These are nationally driven cuts, we have had over the last 10 or 11 years budgets that have been decimated by national Government.”

Cllr Shane Moore, Independent Union council leader, said: “These aren’t palatable for us, it is at the fault of central Government.

“We just need to be absolutely honest about why we’re in this position and why we’re having to make these decisions.

“We’re in a position now where we have to put it [political differences] aside and we have to work together and come up with solutions.”

He said: “I think council tax is an absolutely regressive system, the cuts that are being proposed, like we’ve all said, it makes me feel sick, it’s awful that we have to do this.”

He added he has been continuing to lobby Hartlepool’s MP Jill Mortimer over funding issues.

Councillors also stressed the importance of explaining to residents why the decisions are having to be made.

Potential savings will now be discussed by individual policy committees before coming back to the finance and policy committee.

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