Saturday, 18 December 2010

Local Cuts

This week, we heard the news on the local cuts resulting from the Spending Review:
  • Over the next two years, Surrey County Council will see cuts in its grants from central government of 9.5%, but Elmbridge has been hit harder by 34% cuts. The practical impact is not as severe as that may sound, because we are less reliant here on grants from Whitehall. So, in terms of revenue spending power, Surrey will see an estimated reduction of 1.9% and Elmbridge 7.8%.
  • Surrey Police will see a cut in central government funding (core and grants, not including capital grants) of 12% over the next four years.
  • The transport grant to Surrey will be cut by 12% over four years, but the Transport Secretary has built in enough room so that (within that figure) we will see a significant increase in investment by 2014.
  • I am still waiting for the breakdown for schools, but the government has made clear that no individual school will see a reduction of more than 1.5% in per pupil funding (before the new pupil premium is applied for children from the least well off families).
  • NHS funding will be protected - so, Surrey PCT will get an increase in allocations of 2.6%

None of this will be easy. I particularly commend Elmbridge council on the forward planning that has enabled them to adjust to this financial challenge. On the other hand, because of past incompetence, Surrey PCT will struggle because it has a large financial deficit.

There is no point in trying to sugar-coat the figures, but I would make two points. First, one of the factors in determing the extent of cuts is that we are less reliant on central funding than other areas. That leads to a perverse logic: we get less revenue back, because we have been short-changed for so long under Labour's funding formula. It strengthens the case for changing the formula in the forthcoming local government finance review. Second, these cuts are the legacy of reckless state spending under the last government. They are necessary. Britain must start cutting her coat according to her cloth - otherwise we will leave a debt time bomb for our children.


kevin said...

speaking of our children what is the best way of furthering the cause of schools that are deserving of funding? Schools that have proven to be excellent providers of education should be supported by being awarded with the ability to take on more applicants and I believe that St. Matthews' (Cobham) expansions plans are probably as good an example of this as you are likely to get. Interested in your thoughts.

Richard Tebboth said...

Healthcare Funding

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