Councils in the Bristol area will have their budgets slashed
COUNCILS in the Bristol area will have their budgets slashed by almost £30 million next year in a settlement branded the most devastating for a generation by the opposition Labour party.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles insisted authorities must axe their most senior staff and merge their administrative departments with neighbouring councils before they start shutting down libraries and cutting frontline services.
He said Bristol City Council would have £15.7million wiped off its revenue funding next year, which worked out to a cut of 3.64 per cent in the authority's "spending power" – the total amount of cash available, including council tax and NHS funding to help with social care as well as central funding.
That is the best way of measuring the impact of the cuts, the government claims, because it has reduced the number of grants available to councils from more than 100 to around a dozen, and changed the way it is allocated.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
For Bath and North East Somerset £3.6million will be cut in 2011/12, a 2.56 per cent reduction in spending power. For North Somerset the reduction was £4million, down 2.32 per cent, while in South Gloucestershire £5.1million will be lost, down 2.37 per cent.
Councils must now study the figures, released yesterday afternoon, before they indicate where cuts are likely to be made. They were announced as the Home Office confirmed Avon and Somerset Police's budget will be slashed by 5.1 per cent next year.
Mr Pickles also released plans to reform local government by handing down more powers to councils.
Labour's shadow communities secretary Caroline Flint called the cuts "the most devastating cuts in funding for a generation".
Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy warned that the cuts would damage the economy. The shadow Treasury minister said: "These cuts will be another bitter blow for people living in Bristol. Lots of public sector workers will be out of their jobs and that stops spending. It's really important that when the council is looking at what areas to cut, the most vulnerable people are protected. I'll be scrutinising their proposals very carefully."
Mr Pickles told the Evening Post: "Before we see libraries closed and these kinds of things I want to see them (councils) merge their back office functions, in particular sharing chief executives, their legal departments, accounts department, their payroll, their IT, their planning, their education support functions.
"When they've done all that, if they feel they have to close libraries then they should come and talk to me. I do expect a significant number of posts to go. I'm looking towards a fair amount of redundancies among chief executives and top officials because to get the benefit of joint working you clearly need a lot fewer chiefs."
Mr Pickles also warned that any council rejecting his offer of government cash to help them freeze council tax next year would be "very foolish".
Policing Minister Nick Herbert has confirmed the Avon and Somerset force will be handed £192.60 million in 2011/12, which will fall to £180.2 million in 2012/13. He said the reductions would be "challenging".