Paying a high price for cuts

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THE people of Sunderland will lose out by £145 each after Government cuts to council spending start to bite, according to a new report.

The study states that authorities all across the North East are facing disproportionate cuts, with much worse budget reductions compared to other parts of the country

Where as Sunderland faces a loss of £145 per person and North Shields £183, places such as Woking or Guildford, in the South East, are facing a loss of just £15 per person.

The research, which was conducted by Newcastle City Council, came after the government claimed that no authorities would face cuts of more than 8.8 per cent.

But the council assert the cash impact per head of population is substantially more significant for many deprived authorities.

Paul Woods, director of finance and resources at Newcastle City Council, said: “There is quite a significant variation between councils.

“Some only show a reduction of £1 and it goes all the way up to £244. It is clear that it is unfair.

“And when it comes to cutting back, if the same percentage is taken across the board then the more deprived areas will lose out.

“It will definitely have an impact on the North East economy as well as an impact on services and so this big disparity in the level of cuts needs to be addressed.”

The Association for North East Councils has also brought out a report in response to the changes to funding that councils are facing.

And in the report it states that Sunderland has 34 neighbourhoods in the top 10 per cent of deprived areas nationally, which places Sunderland in the top 50 most deprived local authorities.

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson said: “This report highlights the major impact of Government cuts and the potential impact of the new system for business rates may have on services.

“It shows that Sunderland is among the cities hit hardest and the report highlights the need to ensure that when the new system of funding is introduced this unfairness is addressed.

“We continue to work hard in the face of these cuts to ensure that front line services, particularly those which affect our most vulnerable residents, continue to be delivered,

“The council supports the report and is actively lobbying government on the changes.”

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “The settlement is fair between different parts of the country.

“In calculating the settlement ministers have ensured that formula grant funding per head is higher in those parts of the country with the highest level of need.”

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