'˜Severe' spending in Hartlepool set to worsen by 2020 as council pledges to fight back

Council bosses have pledged to continue campaigning against government cuts after new research showed the severe impact they are having in Hartlepool.

Monday, 22nd October 2018, 11:29 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd October 2018, 3:26 am

A study by Cambridge University revealed the borough saw spending levels slashed by 33% between 2010-17, the 24th highest in the country.

The report’s authors have also warned government policies to shift more responsibilities on to councils could make the situation even worse.

Hartlepool Council bosses warned cuts in the are only expected to worsen by 2020.

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A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “The severe spending cuts imposed on us in recent years are well documented and by 2020 our funding from central government will have fallen by 45%.

“We will continue to press the government wherever and whenever possible for a fairer financial deal, particularly in relation to the cost of looked-after children and children’s services generally where the council faces a significant deficit.

“We will also continue to lobby to try to stop the financial burden of local authority services being shifted away from central government and onto local taxpayers through council tax, including the adult social care precept.”

Services hit hardest across the country include areas such as highways, adult social care and children’s services.

In all, 46 English councils have slashed funding by 30% or more between 2010-17.

The North East as a whole has been hit hard by the cuts with Hartlepool the fifth authority to feature in the list of those suffering the biggest cuts.

Westminster and Salford have seen the biggest cuts nationwide, with South Tyneside in third with a 44% reduction.

Geographer Dr Mia Gray, who worked on the study, said: “The idea that austerity has hit all areas equally is nonsense.

“Local councils rely to varying degrees on the central government, and we have found a clear relationship between grant dependence and cuts in service spending.

“The average cuts to local services have been twice as deep in England compared to Scotland and Wales.

“Cities have suffered the most, particularly in the old industrial centres of the north but also much of London.”

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service