Council cuts fear over Hackney’s Olympic legacy

Funding settlement for host boroughs branded “reckless”

Slashing council funding will harm Hackney’s Olympic legacy and those of the other four host boroughs, Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, has warned

Sir Robin told a national newspaper that the Coalition Government was being “reckless in the extreme” by announcing funding cuts to Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney by 8.9 per cent last month, the highest rates in the country.

The severity of the cuts proved that ministers were “uninterested in the people legacy” of the Games, the chair of the five host boroughs said.

While most of the money to transform the Olympic Park and the surrounding area will come through central government and the Mayor of London, he claimed the loss of �43.7million to Newham’s funding would mean that projects to revitalise the area at a local level would have to be scrapped.

This included plans to expand the council’s �5m Workplace scheme that trains unemployed residents to get back into work.

“We wanted to double that because there are a lot of jobs coming here,” said Sir Robin. “How are we supposed to pay for it now?”

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He called on the Government to fund specific Olympic schemes directly so keeping the projects running did not mean deeper service cuts for residents.

The Town Hall already needs to find �116million in savings and cut up to 1,600 jobs over the next three years in order to balance its books.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has said that the cuts represented “a progressive settlement and fair between different parts of the country”.