Sunderland council chiefs call for '˜fair share' of funding from Government as Â£28.8million cuts still needed
Council bosses have called for a 'fair share' of funding from government as they struggle to balance the books and provide services.
This week, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet met to discuss their revenue budget for the next two years up to 2020/21.
Currently, a further £28.8million cuts to services are still needed alongside increased pressures around childrens’ services and adult social care.
Labour leaders, sitting at Sunderland Civic Centre, claimed almost a decade of austerity had had a huge impact on Sunderland residents.
The comments came during a discussion of the Provisional Local Government Settlement, announced just before Christmas, which sets out core funding available to councils.
For Sunderland, it indicated an increase of £4.9million for next year – a 2.1% increase compared to the current year and below the national average of 2.8%.
However, Sunderland’s 2.1% represents a reduction because inflation is at 2.3%.
As MPs debated a ‘no confidence’ vote over Brexit on January 16 in Parliament, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, Michael Mordey, told councillors there was a divide between the north and south.
This included cuts to fire services, police and legal, council cuts and other impact on wages and economic activity.
“Hard-working families and taxpayers contribute to this country, we should demand we get our fair share of funding back,” he said.
“Councils like Sunderland have suffered significantly from disproportionate cuts and I just pray to whoever is up there that this motion passes tonight.
“The people of Sunderland can’t continue being disproportionately attacked by this government for an ideological purpose.”
Within the settlement funding asessment, Sunderland City Council will receive a ‘revenue support grant’ of around £27million next year (2019/20).
A report, presented to councillors, states this represents a cut of 24% and nearly £9million over last year.
Coun Mordey added: “That’s why we’re seeing so many problems in our city, services redesigned, bins not being emptied, grass not being cut.
“It’s not because we around this table want these cuts, they’re being forced upon us by this disgusting, horrible government.
“Until that changes, we will do our best around this table to protect the city of Sunderland but I can’t see any change in the near future.”
Council leader, Graeme Miller, added adult social care pressures were “not unique to Sunderland.”
“Nine years of austerity are basically pushing more and more children into a situation where they’re moving into the care arena and it’s a disgrace,” he said.
During discussions, he added the government was “putting its own survival ahead of the needs of the country.”
Further council budget proposals are due next month, with the council’s final budget set to be agreed in March.
This includes a proposed council tax increase of 3.99% in line with Government limits on Council Tax and Social Care Levy increases.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service