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By Debbie le Quesne

More cuts, more pain and a scary warning from local authorities

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Birmingham City Council is among others which has warned of a looming financial crisis if the trajectory of cuts still being demanded by government is not revised.

Along with the leaders of Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester local authorities say the scale of the expected cuts imposed by ministers means that vital services will no longer be able to be protected.

The letters sent to government communities secretary Eric Pickles warned with many authorities will be reduced to providing a skeleton service consisting of social care and waste disposal by the end of the decade.

News of the local authorities’ action was broken by The Guardian yesterday.

“Financially weak councils will go bust and others will be forced to drastically reduce services to cope with cuts to town hall budgets outlined by ministers,” the newspaper reported.

The warning came after government revealed that councils in England would face spending reductions of up to 8.8 per cent from April, with an average cut of 1.7 per cent.

Mr Pickles has described the settlement as fair and said the onus was now on councils to do more to cut costs and pursue “sensible savings” to protect public services.

He has published a document outlining how councils could make extra savings. And here we go . . . they include scrapping the post of chief executive, cutting translation services by printing official documents in English only, opening coffee shops in libraries, and banning the provision of mineral water at council meetings.

What!

If this is the caliber of creative thinking at the top, what hope is there for the rest of us?

He was quoted as saying: ”Councils that put their thinking caps on now can save precious taxpayer pennies next year by cutting out waste and transforming frontline services that vulnerable people rely on.”

With respect, Mr Pickles, you appear to be in denial of reality.

The shadow communities and local secretary, Hilary Benn, also seems to think the same, being quoted as saying: “It is clear that he [Pickles] is living in a world of his own because he simply does not understand the impact that his decisions on funding are having on the services and local people who use and rely upon them.”

Joanna Killian, chair of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers, said: “This settlement will increase the risk of more councils being financially.”

Already our local authorities have made huge savings and not least in social care. Their actions have already compromised the daily viability of care and nursing homes as well as other care provisions with unrealistic increases in bed fees being paid.

Happy Christmas everyone . . .

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Written by debbielq

December 20, 2012 at 8:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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