Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Solihull council amongst hardest hit by new cuts

SOLIHULL Metropolitan Borough Council will be among those hardest hit under funding cuts announced by the Government today.

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The council’s ‘spending power’ will fall 2.7 per cent in the 12 months from April.

This places it 34th out of 361 local authorities, some of which will enjoy increases of up to 6.4 per cent. Hastings is worse hit at 8.8 per cent.

Average ‘spending power’ is down 1.7 per cent, communities secretary Eric Pickles said.

The Government said next year heralded a “dramatic shift” in how councils raise cash, with 70 per cent set to come from council tax, compared to 56 per cent now.

However, Solihull council has long raised more from council tax due to low Government settlements, 66 per cent this year.

It has traditionally been given less cash as Solihull is assessed as a more prosperous area and therefore less needy of public services.

But from April, councils will be able to keep half the business rate collected instead of handing all the cash to the Treasury.

Mr Pickles outlined 50 ways for councils to save cash including sharing services with other local authorities, curbing use of corporate credit cards and greater transparency.

The spending power calculation includes forecast business rates and NHS funding for social care.

The authority froze its band D £1,173.72 take of the council tax – about two-thirds of the final bill – this year.

It has said future increases will be no more than 2.5 per cent. Any increase over two per cent will trigger a local referendum.
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