Councils preparing for service cuts after ministers reduce cash

David Ellesmere warned about cuts at the borough.

David Ellesmere warned about cuts at the borough.

Ipswich council will have to make major cuts to services in future years after the government announced its funding proposals for local authorities.

While county councils like Suffolk are not likely to see significant government cutbacks, districts and boroughs like Ipswich are facing serious problems in the years ahead said Labour borough leader David Ellesmere.

Even if it does increase council tax bills by the maximum allowed, just under 2%, the borough would still have to cut services.

Mr Ellesmere said: “The figure for next year, 2016-17, is not too bad – the government is looking at cuts of about £120,000. But the following year we are looking at about £560,000. To achieve those savings there will have to be cuts to services.”

The council had been budgeting for cuts of about £1.4m over the next few years – but the government was looking for savings of about £1m.

A 1% rise in council tax brought in about £120,000 a year, so a 2% rise would bring in just under a quarter of a million.

Mr Ellesmere said: “The simple fact is that we cannot achieve those savings without cuts to services. We have done very well so far but there is little more we can do without it impacting on services.”

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He said there had been a similar story among borough and district councils across the country as the government channelled more money to counties and other authorities with responsibility for social care.

Derrick Haley, Conservative leader of Mid Suffolk Council, said: “We were planning for some steep reductions in our Rate Support Grant from the Government, but my goodness our settlement is far worse than even we had anticipated.

“Whilst being able to plan for four years is helpful, the figures for Mid Suffolk over these four years are very worrying indeed.”

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