Central Government slashes council funding - Uttlesford second hardest hit in Essex

UTTLESFORD District Council has indicated that it is well-placed to deal with the challenges ahead, despite a huge slash in funding from central Government.

The council has received individual details of the Local Government Finance Settlement and faces a front-loaded cut in its Revenue Support Grant (the money paid by central government to councils) of about 28 per cent over the next two years.

In 2011/12, the council will receive just under �3.2 million, which is a cut of 17 per cent. In 2012/13, it will receive just under �2.8 million, which is a further cut of 13 per cent. This is a provisional settlement and will be finalised in January.

Next year, the Revenue Support Grant accounts for 39 per cent of Uttlesford District Council’s total revenue budget.

However, Uttlesford District Council has been planning for reductions of this scale for more than 18 months and as a result, the four-year savings programme set out in its Medium Term Financial Strategy will be sufficient to deliver the required savings.

Cllr Jim Ketteridge, Leader of Uttlesford District Council, said: “The council set up a reserve some time ago to deal with the financial restrictions we saw coming.

“As planned, this can be used to balance the budget over the next two years while the necessary work is done through our savings programme to ensure the council continues to be a financially stable organisation.

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“Although we have the second worst settlement out of the 12 Essex district councils, and across England only 26 shire district councils have received lower settlements, we believe we are actually better placed than most to deal with the challenges this announcement brings due to the work the council has already done to prepare.

“Through a combination of partnership working, focus on priority areas and other measures, we will be able to continue delivering the services the public expects.”

WHAT do you think? E-mail nick.thompson@archant.co.uk.

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