Dec 27 2012 by Joe Thomas, Crosby Herald
VITAL services will come under even more pressure in Southport after the Government announced reductions to local authority spending power.
Sefton Council is set to lose out on £7m of funding, meaning a total of £50m will now have to be slashed from its annual budget by 2015.
Consultation is already ongoing on a number of emotive cuts proposals, including library closures.
Borough leaders have already slashed £64m from Sefton’s expenses in an effort to meet stringent savings targets. A further £43.7m of reductions must be found by 2015 to balance the council’s books and news of another £7m of cuts will only add more pressure to services already badly hit by the recession.
Leader of the council Peter Dowd branded the cuts unfair and warned valuable and important services would suffer.
Cllr Dowd said: “We were already faced with some unpalatable options around services which are genuinely needed and valued by our residents but this announcement has made difficult decisions even harder. The council is consulting on a range of options.
“However, we will also have to look once again at our budget options and cut deeper into services so that we can balance our budget... making cuts of this level will have a massive impact on the people of Sefton.”
Sefton’s reduction in spending power, which includes council tax and other income rather than just government grants, will total 2.2% for 2013/14 followed by a further 4.6% for 2014/15. Former deputy chair of the Local Government Association, Cllr Sir Ron Watson, said it would be “helpful” if the Government understood the cuts they are imposing on town halls would lead to real reductions in services.
He said: “By any standards these represent massive reductions in expenditure and they will not be able to be achieved without making a significant difference to the services that the council offers and provides.”
Leader of the Lib Dem opposition, Cllr Iain Brodie-Browne, added: “Even in the context of deficit reduction this is bad news for local services and undermines the role councils can play in promoting economic recovery.”