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Suffolk households lose hundreds in council cuts according to Labour

PUBLISHED: 05:30 05 July 2019

Sandy Martin said households had felt the effect of council spending cuts. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Sandy Martin said households had felt the effect of council spending cuts. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Households across the region have seen the amount spent on council services slashed over the last 10 years despite rises in council tax bills according to new figures compiled by the Labour Party.

Paul West said councils were seeing increased demand for services. Picture: RACHEL EDGEPaul West said councils were seeing increased demand for services. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The amount spent per household by Suffolk County Council fell by £259 between 2010/11 and 2019/20 - a drop of 11.7%. That is higher than both Norfolk (£227, 8.2%) and Essex (£198, 7.5%).

Among districts and boroughs the cuts are higher proportionately - but smaller in absolute figures.

Ipswich council has seen its expenditure per household fall by £90 as it total budget was cut by 19.2%. Suffolk Coastal (now East Suffolk) saw its per household expenditure fall by £54 as its budget fell 16.3%, St Edmundsbury saw its budget fall by 20.9% (£71 per household).

The figures, which cover councils across the country, were produced by the office of shadow local government secretary Andrew Gwynne.

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Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin, who was a county councillor until he was elected to the House of Commons in 2017, said the figures showed how seriously households had been hit by austerity measures.

He said: "It used to be that council budgets were half made up by government grants and half by council tax bills. Now the government grants have almost completely gone and while there is some money allocated by them, there is nowhere near as much.

"What is now being seen - especially by individual households - is that vital services are being cut. And those that are suffering most are the vital preventative services like children's services.

"The fact is that if you remove support for things like children's centres and family support organisations in early life, you face much higher bills in the future."

Conservative county council cabinet member Paul West said there had been difficult funding decisions over recent years - but he did not feel Labour areas had feared worse than Conservatives.

He said: "There has been a reduction in government support, but that has tended to particularly affect shire county areas rather than inner cities.

"There has also been a considerable increased demand for services - and that has brought extra pressures which will be likely to continue."

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