Sunderland assesses damage of £12million budget cut

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson
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SUNDERLAND City Council is to lose more than £12million in spending power for the next financial year, it has been announced.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has said that the authority’s funding grants settlement for 2015/16 will fall by £12.243million - a cut of 4.2 per cent - from £289.179million to £276.936million.

That means spending per each of Sunderland’s 125,869 households will be down from £2,297.46 to £2,200.19 – a fall of £97.27.

Councillor Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The city council is beginning to look at the implications of this announcement.

“Sunderland has already taken more than £170million out of its budgets over the last five years.

“The council has been anticipating a further £110million coming out over the next three years if the Government continues on this path. What is apparent is that Sunderland and other North East councils are continuing to take a greater hit than other similar sized authorities.

“This has been pointed out in a number of independent reports by the National Audit Office, the Local Government Association and others. Their reports refer to the need to bring fairness back into the funding system. This is because of increasing concerns about the ability of councils being able to provide statutory services if there is no redistribution grant back to areas such as ours which have the high needs. Further details on the council’s budget will be announced in the new year.”

Nationally, local authorities will lose a collective £2.6billion from their budgets.

Local Government minister Kris Hopkins told the House of Commons that the overall reduction in spending power for English councils will be 1.8 per cent, with no council facing a loss of more than 6.4 per cent.