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MP slams government funding cuts to local councils

Michael Dugher MP, Barnsley East MP, has criticised the Government’s decision to further cut local government funding as new figures revealed Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council will see its budget slashed by £9.3 million.

The authority will see the funds it gets from central Government drastically reduced by nearly 27 per cent from £34.56 million this year to £25.26 million in 2017/18.

The funding from Whitehall is essential to the council and helps cover the cost of a range of local government services including social care, education, collecting rubbish and highways maintenance.  It is the latest in a series of cuts imposed over the years by the Tory Government.

The council will have to run its services with a total budget of £78.43m over the coming financial year and is being forced to explore others means of funding essential services.

The most recent of these has been to increase the council tax precept to help pay for social care costs.

Mr Dugher is urging residents to support a local petition that calls on the Government to properly address the growing crisis in social care. The petition states that funding adult social care through council tax gives areas the care that they can afford, not the care that they need.

Nationally, the Local Government Association has analysed the Local Government Finance Settlement and estimates that local authorities will receive £2.2 billion less in funding to run local services in 2017/8 than last year.

Despite making savings of up to £20bn over the course of the last parliament, local government is facing a funding gap of up to £5.8bn by 2020.

Commenting, Mr Dugher said: “This latest local government finance package is terrible news for Barnsley.  Tory cuts to local government funding will put key local services under even more pressure and see local residents footing the bill.

“Local government has already severely suffered as a result of seven years of devastating Tory cuts and are being forced to raise the precept to pay for social care. I would urge all residents to sign the petition calling on the Government to act.

“The council has done an excellent job to protect services in very difficult circumstances.  But these latest cuts will make that job even harder.

“The Government has finally acknowledged the crisis in social care, but their solution has been to stick plasters over the crisis and pass the costs onto local residents, rather than take the strategic decisions that are required to reach a sustainable solution.”

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