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Bradford Council is told it must save another £40 million
Bradford has been hammered with a further £40 million of council cuts – while many authorities in the south will enjoy a rise.
The Council will lose 8.2 per cent of its ‘spending power’ between 2014 and 2016, or more than £1 in every £12 in its budget, ministers announced yesterday.
There will also be big cuts in Calderdale (£8.85m, 4.9 per cent), Kirklees (£19.3m, 5.4 per cent) and Leeds (£33.7m, 5.3 per cent) – but less severe than Bradford’s. Yet many councils in Surrey, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire will receive a boost over the two-year period, figures show.
The average loss across England is 4.7 per cent – less than the blow about to strike West Yorkshire’s councils.
Councillor David Green, leader of Labour-run Bradford Council, said the authority still faced a “dire” financial future, and yesterday’s announcement represented no change to what they had expected to receive.
He said its funding was being cut by £89 million over two years.
He said: “Clearly we are still working through the detail of the announcement but what’s clearly indicated is that there is really no change to the dire financial position that the Government has put Bradford Council and the people of the district in.”
He said next year the ‘spending power’ drop at Bradford Council of 4.2 per cent was the largest drop in West Yorkshire.
He said: “Compare that to some places, like Wokingham (in Berkshire), which are actually getting an increase in their spending power. It’s farcical.”
But Councillor Glen Miller, leader of the Council’s Conservative group, said the ‘spending power’ reduction of 8.2 per cent over two years did not fit with the “horror stories” being put out by the authority’s Labour leadership.
He said he still believed there were efficiencies to be made within Bradford Council, saying the subsidy of union officials in particular was a practice which should be axed.
Liberal Democrat group leader, Councillor Jeanette Sunderland said that while there was a reduction in spending power, Bradford was still receiving more money per dwelling than Leeds and anywhere else in Yorkshire.
Town halls have again been urged to freeze council tax next year, although they are not fully reimbursed by Whitehall for the cost of doing so.
And ministers hinted they may lower the threshold at which any proposed rise triggers a local referendum. At present, it stands at two per cent.
The ‘spending power’ measure includes funds from Council Tax, locally retained business rates and the New Homes Bonus, plus Government grants.
The figures for 2015-16 are provisional, but are unlikely to change significantly.
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