Hackney Council’s budget could reduce by 40 per cent

Hackney Town Hall, of Mare Street.

Hackney Town Hall, of Mare Street. - Credit: Archant

Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe has criticised the Conservative government for slashing funding for local authorities by an estimated 40 per cent.

The comprehensive Spending Review announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne last Wednesday set out how the government intends to spend taxpayers’ money for the next four years, covering the period up until the next election.

It had been thought cuts in police budgets could reach up to 20 per cent as he sought to make savings of £20 billion across all departments, but the Met escaped with no cuts at all, with Osborne stating that “now is not the time for further police cuts”.

However local government was not so lucky.

Mayor Pipe said: “As expected, the chancellor hit local government the hardest of all public services, and over the next four years we will see a 40 per cent reduction in financial support from government.

“His answer to the need for greater funding for adult social care was to suggest a two per cent hike in council tax, which in Hackney would generate just £1.3m, or around £55m across London - but the estimated funding gap in the capital’s adult social care system is £900m.

“Worst of all for Londoners was the announcement on housing that will see more than a £1 billion spent on starter homes and other initiatives, none of which will be affordable to people on moderate incomes, let alone the tens of thousands of people currently residing in temporary accommodation across London.”

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Hackney Council could not confirm a specific figure on how much the estimated funding gap in Hackney’s adult social care system is predicted to be, but said that core funding from central government for existing services will have fallen by around 65 per cent in real terms over the decade from 2010 to 2020.

A spokesman from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) denied local governments were losing out following the review.

She said: “The announcement at the Spending Review means councils will have almost £200 billion to spend on local services over the lifetime of this parliament, a cash terms increase and a reduction of just 1.7 per cent in real terms each year.

“Alongside this we are giving more powers and greater flexibility for town halls to take control of their finances while protecting public services and boosting adult social care through a £3.5bn investment.”

But a spokesman for Hackney Council said the claim that financial support to local government will be maintained is based on future funding streams which cover both existing services as well as new responsibilities that will be transferred to local government, such as from the Department of Health.