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News : Cuts in Government Funding Not Easy to Take
Dec 23, 2014 -- A cut in Government funding will hit the most vulnerable the hardest, the leader of Reading Borough Council claims.
Councillor Jo Lovelock says the local government settlement announced last week was as expected but still not easy to cope with.
And she said Labour-controlled urban areas in Berkshire are the ones most in need but which face the toughest cuts.
Reading will see its revenue support grant slashed.
Cllr Lovelock said: "The reduction is as expected, so we have been planning for this but it doesn't make it any easier.
"And if George Osborne is to be believed if this Government is re-elected, local government can be in for even worse in the future, particularly for somewhere like Reading where we have growth in the young population and those over 65, which are the age groups that need our services."
She added: "It doesn't go unnoticed Reading and Slough lose out considerably more than the other four authorities which are under less pressure."
Cllr Lovelock said Reading will see a reduction in Government funding of £103 per head of population between 2013/14 and 2015/16 while Tory-led Wokingham will see a reduction of just £38 per head.
Reading councillors warned they could no longer protect front line services when they discussed the likely Government settlement at a policy committee meeting in September.
The committee approved the first phase of measures to save £4 million which included £500,000 cuts in social care, £270,000 cuts in support for childcare, decreasing opening hours in the council's call centre and installing more pay and display parking meters around the town centre.
Now the government settlement has been announced the council will work on putting together the 2015/2016 budget papers for February.
Cllr Lovelock said: "If only the Government could show some recognition that local authorities cannot go on being squeezed in this way, particularly when we are seeing growth in the population in the groups that need our services most."
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More Editorial From Reading Borough Council
About Reading Borough Council:
Reading Borough Council is the local authority of Reading in Berkshire, England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined. Its Leader is Cllr Joanne Lovelock.
Published: Friday, December 26, 2014