08:00 Saturday 22 December 2012

Council coffers set to suffer as the axe falls

Written byJOSHUA TAYLOR

Cllr Richard Grosvenor Cllr Richard Grosvenor

COUNCILS will lose out on millions of pounds after the Government announced further cuts to local authority funding.

Conservative-controlled East Staffordshire Borough Council said it was ‘disappointed’ to learn its Government grant would shrink so much during the next two years.

The money it receives from Whitehall will fall by £6.1 million in 2013-14 and by £5.2 million, or 15 per cent, in 2014-15.

Meanwhile South Derbyshire District Council, also a Tory-run authority, revealed it would have to make savings worth £400,000 in 2014-15.

But both councils have pledged to protect frontline services.

Richard Grosvenor, leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council, said: “The council is financially well-run authority. The Audit Commission has stressed this and said we have a robust position.

“We have made savings in the past which have not affected frontline services and have put us in this strong position.

“We will review our future budgets to try and protect frontline services.”

He added: “The news about a second year further 15 per cent cut to our budget is disappointing but, as ever, we are a council that will look to accommodate this without impacting our frontline services.”

Both councils will benefit from the Government’s new homes bonus – money paid as an incentive to build more houses.

This bonus is worth £1.05 million to East Staffordshire Borough Council in 2013-14 and £680,000 in 2012-13.

South Derbyshire District Council claimed it could use the new homes bonus to offset the cut to its other Government grants so it only suffered a £20,000 shortfall in 2013-14.

District council leader Bob Wheeler said: “The council has a proven track record of doing more with less and providing value for money.

“Challenging times lie ahead, but continued strong leadership, innovative ways of working will help us continue to meet the needs of communities.”

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