£3m funding cut to Bath and North East Somerset Council approved
A GOVERNMENT funding package that will see Bath and North East Somerset lose £3 million has been given the go-ahead.
The finalised cash settlement will mean the council having £3,088,000 less to spend on services in the coming year according to updated Whitehall figures – a fall of 2.4 per cent. The average cut nationally was 1.7 per cent.
So-called “spending power” bundles together all funding including council tax raised locally, NHS funding for social care, and cash for building new homes.
Wiltshire will see the amount it has to spend cut by £5.5 million or 1.6 per cent.
Limited Deal. All day wedding photography only £545.00View details
All day wedding photography only £545.00
From Bridal preparations to first dance.
250+ Hi Res images on disc with full printing rights.
Professional photography at affordable prices.
Free no obligation consultations.
Offer subject to availability.
Book before 31st May 2013.
Available in Bath, Bristol and surrounding areas.
Contact: 01225 439257
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The local government finance report, confirming the financial settlements, was approved in the Commons by 274 votes to 196, Government majority 78.
It was supported by Lib Dem MP for Bath Don Foster, and Conservative MPs James Gray for North Wiltshire, and Jacob Rees-Mogg for North East Somerset.
Lib Dem MP for Chippenham Duncan Hames and Tory MP for South West Wiltshire Dr Andrew Murrison were not recorded as voting.
Mr Foster, defending the funding package in the Commons in his capacity as Local Government Minister, said: “I genuinely believe that the settlement is fair, but I also believe that it represents a watershed moment for local government.”
There would always be some councils which made “cynical, politically motivated cuts to services rather than look to alternative approaches”, he said singling out Newcastle for making ‘draconian’ cuts.
Mr Foster added: “Let us be clear, therefore: anyone who sacks a member of staff or shuts down a public service for political purposes is a disgrace to politics and a disgrace to Britain.
“The truth is that the majority of authorities are doing their best in challenging circumstances.”
He accused the opposition of being “full of huff and puff and dated thinking”.
“It was the same old mantra from Labour: nothing about protecting council tax payers from the huge rises they suffered under the Labour Government; nothing about finding more efficient and effective ways of delivering services, as many authorities are now doing; and nothing about the real opportunities provided by the business rate retention scheme. Helping local economies to grow means more money will flow into the local council,” said Mr Foster.
Authorities which tried to create new jobs or build homes would gain the financial benefit through keeping a share of their business rates or the new homes bonus.
The Minister added: “This is a fair settlement and it is a settlement about opportunity.”
But Shadow Communities Secretary Hilary Benn argued councils were now facing the “largest cuts in government funding in the political lifetime of every single one of us sitting in this House.”
He pointed to the Local Government Association which said that funding for local government was projected to fall by 3.9 per cent in 2013-14 and a further 8.5 per cent in 2014-15, meaning the grant to local government would fall by 33 per cent in real terms over the current spending review period.