Preston City Council has taken one of the largest cuts in government funding in England.
Figures announced by the government show Preston Town Hall will see a 6.4 per cent cut in the annual funding it receives from Whitehall.
City council finance chiefs say the cutbacks mean it will lose £14,000 more than it anticipated and may also lose £41,000 more in a new homes bonus than it had predicted.
Council leader Peter Rankin took to Twitter last night to protest the cuts.
He tweeted: “Tory government hit Preston again. Atrocious 6.4% cut compared with average 1.8% cut across England. Tory Surrey gets 3.1% INCREASE.
“Preston Council sold bus station and Guild Hall to make ends meet. Despite all this further cuts on way.”
Local government minister Kris Hopkins said: “In the context of this unprecedented challenge to public finance, we have yet again delivered a settlement that is fair to all parts of the country – whether north, south, urban or rural.
“English local government is expected to spend over £114 billion this year – around a quarter of all public spending. This settlement therefore recognises that local authorities continue to make a vital contribution to helping pay off the deficit.
“Once again the settlement leaves councils with considerable total spending power. As planned, we have kept the overall reduction to 1.8% – lower than last year and one of the lowest levels of reduction under this government. If we include the funds that government has provided to support local transformation, the overall reduction is even lower – at 1.6%.
“Councils facing the highest demand for services continue to receive substantially more funding and we are continuing to ensure that no council will face a loss of more than 6.4% in their spending power in 2015 to 2016 – the lowest level in this Parliament.”
The city council’s financial position means it has to save £3.6 million over the next three years, which is likely to lead to a reduction in the Town Hall headcount by 80 roles.
A major restructuring of senior Town Hall jobs is currently under way, although further details are not due to be released until early 2015 but some of the city council’s highest earners could be offloaded to balance the books.
Councillors recently approved a 2.2 per cent rise in their allowances, as recommended by an independent body – with councillor Rankin turning down an increase which would have seen his take-home pay rise by nearly 20 per cent.
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