Tuesday, 14 December 2010

H&F handed largest 6.56% austerity cuts among local councils

The Government has cut the budget of our Council by 6.56%. This might not seem much but for a multi million pound local authority that represents a huge wadge of spending, and would seem to go further and faster than some of the cuts our Council has already made to services. It is also significantly more than any of the 4 local authorities that surround us.

Speaking to the BBC however Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh said "We have to recognise and make the case that we can get by on less money. I think with less money you become more creative about how you tackle things."

Some authorities across the UK are having their core funding reduced to make even bigger savings of up to 9.9% and this has predictably led to howls of pain. In our own local neighbourhood the cuts seem to be a mixture of closing services for vulnerable people and selling off buildings.
In our neighbourhood Kensington & Chelsea have had their budget cut by 5.26%, Ealing by 4.87%, Brent by 5.85% and Hounslow by 4.69%. So in fact Hammersmith & Fulham has had the largest cuts imposed on any local authority in our part of the Capital, and this on top of the axe already having fallen on numerous local services.
The cuts were revelaed yesterday in a parliamentary statement by Secretary of State Eric Pickles as he unveiled the Government's new Localism Bill which, also awkwardly for our Council revelaed new powers "for local people to overrule planning decisions, decide where new homes should go and protect green spaces" Expect therefore the King Street decision to be fast-tracked as it shows every sign of being before those Big Society powers are handed to local people.

There's a chill wind blowing through the borough. But perhaps not for everyone.

1430 UPDATE: The Fulham Chronicle has caught up with this story here, focussing on councillors reactions in Westminster, as opposed to H&F!

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