Durham council leader furious at expected budget cuts

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A COUNCIL leader hit out at the North-South divide in advance of expected budget cuts.

In a cabinet meeting of Durham County Council before the budget is set next month, leader Simon Henig said Durham will lose more than six per cent of its spending power, but wealthy Surrey will see a gain of three per cent.

Councillor Henig added: “If we are all in this together, we should genuinely be all in this together. Up to now a national quality standard has been maintained.

“In future, local government services will reflect the prosperity of the local area.”

Durham County Council is set to cut another £23m from its budget in 2014/15, taking total savings since 2010 to £155m.

Most of next year’s savings will come from back-office and staffing cuts, but Coun Henig warned budgets would get harder in the coming years.

Government ministers claim the reduction in central support could be made up by local business rates.

Coun Henig was part of a North East delegation which went to London to lobby local government minister Brandon Lewis.

The council is due to set its budget on February 26.