Tag: finance

As the cuts bite, we will have different sorts of services provided by Shropshire Council – protected and decommissioned (no service at all)

Times are tough. There are more funding cuts to come. But Shropshire Council’s assumptions the worst will happen are not justified. They will damage the council’s role as a civic leader and its ability to act for the public good. Shropshire Council is beginning to consult on some tough financial decisions. Since 2009, the council’s budget has been reduced by £146m due to significant government cuts. It says it expects lose a further £43m by 2020/21, when the government is expected to end the council’s Revenue Support Grant. The council currently estimates that it will be a further £77m worse off in 2020/21, once inflationary increases and growing care needs are taken into account.[1] So the council has begun to consult on how to manage a £77million cut to its finances. I am not convinced by the council’s approach. It is going out to consultation based on the worst possible case for future finances. I think it is running ahead of itself in making such important decisions at this point. George Osborne will announce the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) and present his Autumn Statement next Wednesday (25 November). No one is expecting Osborne to be generous but…

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Shropshire Council’s cabinet is set, on Wednesday 10 December, to cancel distribution of the government grant that ministers say it should be giving to local councils across Shropshire.This means that from next April, nearly half a million pounds destined for town and parish councils will be hoarded by Shropshire Council to keep its council tax down. This will force many local councils to put their precepts up, while Shropshire Council keeps its council tax flat. This move, if approved, will mean that Ludlow Town Council will lose £65,000 in grant aid over the next two financial years. Across the county, town and parish councils will lose £947,000 over the next two years. Shrewsbury will lose £146,000 and Bridgnorth £73,000. Shropshire Council only published its plans on Monday afternoon, just a day and a half before the cabinet meets to agree the scheme (or perhaps reject it). There has been no consultation with town and parish councils and no public announcement. The plan is buried in a technical paper slipped out later than the other cabinet papers.

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