Councils facing ‘catastrophic collapse’ unless funding cut cancelled

Call to Communities Secretary comes from Labour council leaders as government ‘bails out’ Tory council facing bankruptcy.

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Communities secretary James Brokenshire is under pressure to cancel out the £1.3bn cut planned for council budgets next year – of face the “catastrophic collapse” of some local authorities.

Faced with a letter from almost 80 Labour council leaders – including those in Birmingham, Manchester, and Newcastle – MHCLG referenced the provision of £90.7bn for council over the next two years and the more than £1bn in extra funding announced in the Budget.

The ministry is expected to announce local government funding for 2019/20 this week.

But the council bosses say that as an “absolute minimum” the Ministry commit to cancelling the £1.3bn cut to next year’s Revenue Support Grant should be cancelled.

Their call is given further impetus by confirmation of a what is effectively a government bail out to keep Tory run Northamptonshire Council from bankruptcy.

But Northamptonshire is one of many authorities fearing they can’t make ends meets because of cuts, with the LGA warning of English councils facing a funding gap of £5.8bn by 2020.

By then, the letter warns, councils will have lost 60p out of every £1 they were given by central government in 2010.

The letter says councils representing the most deprived areas in the country have been hit much harder than those representing the richest – with nine of the 10 most deprived councils in the country seeing cuts of almost three times the national average.

“After eight years of austerity,” the letter says, “many councils have reached breaking point and council budgets are perilously close to collapse.

“To blindly press on with further cuts at a time when local government is on the brink of collapse would be hugely irresponsible.”

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