15:54 Thursday 19 December 2013

Councils bullish despite spending cuts

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

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COUNCILS in Burton and South Derbyshire have insisted they are well-placed to handle ‘inevitable’ cuts which have been announced by the Government.

Labour said services would suffer and that many authorities would be ‘pushed to breaking point’ after the Government decided to curb councils’ spending power by 2.9 per cent on average for 2014/15.

Conversely, South Derbyshire’s Tory MP Heather Wheeler said councils should ‘pack up’ if they couldn’t handle a 2.9 per cent cut.

Despite being set to lose out on nearly £1 million from central government, East Staffordshire Borough Council remains optimistic of being able to freeze council tax for another year.

A spokesman said: “The council is a financially well-run authority, and our external auditors have stressed this and said we had a robust position.

“As we have demonstrated previously, we are a council that will look to accommodate this without impacting our frontline services.”

Bosses over the border in South Derbyshire said were confident services would not be adversely affected.

Leader of the district council Bob Wheeler said: “We will have to cope. These cuts were inevitable as the Government looks to further reduce the deficit.

“It may not be pleasant but they have to do it.

“We will cut costs on services and in the last few years we have actually improved services while cutting costs.”

The announcement means that councils in the region have received mixed news from Westminster this week after the Mail reported that both East Staffordshire Borough Council and South Derbyshire District Council were to receive more than £1.5 million as a reward for building new homes to soften the blow.

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