Sunderland among UK’s worst off as council faces another £42million in cuts

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson.
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson.
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FURTHER Government cuts means Sunderland City Council faces losing another £42million over a two-year period.

The latest figures show the city stands to lose £336 per household – against a national average of £233 – according to a report from the Association of North East Councils.

A spokesman for Sunderland’s council said £100million is already being slashed from budgets over the next three years.

Until those budgets are set in the New Year, he was unable to say which services will be affected.

Council leader Paul Watson, who is also chairman of the association, said: “We are very concerned, therefore, that Government’s proposals for funding to councils in the North East over the next two year amount to an extra £1billion reduction to local Government’s core grant funding for services such as adult social care and children’s services where there are increasing needs and cost pressures.

“We are facing a real terms 25 per cent reduction in funding over this period, which is much higher than the 10 per cent announced in the Spending Review.

“In our submission to the Department for Communities and Local Government, we highlight the disproportionate impact these proposals will have on the North East, which would be on top of the much higher reductions in spending power in the North East than the national average.”

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson said: “Councils across the North East are being hardest hit while more affluent areas with lower levels of deprivation and fewer demands on their services have enjoyed increases in their funding. This will only deepen the north-south divide.

“I accept the need for spending reductions, but the Government’s approach to this in the North East has been disproportionate and unjust.”

Durham County Council says the news means it will have to make an additional £20million in savings as a result of the latest review.

The authority is to launch an extensive consultation exercise to ask the public where they would prefer to see the savings made.

A report to go before the authority’s cabinet, meeting at Bowes Museum on Wednesday, will reveal that the authority must make savings of £222million by 2017.

The figure is £20million higher than councillors were initially told in July, after the full implications of Government changes to funding of social care, housing and education emerged.