Council reaction to government’s autumn statement
This afternoon, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, shared the government’s autumn budget statement, setting out £30bn in spending cuts on public services and £24bn in tax rises.
Leader of Telford and Wrekin Council, Shaun Davies (Labour) said: “The chancellor summarised his budget as one which focuses on “stability, growth and public services”. That scheduled public spending will be maintained until 2025 is a relief – but as is always the case with these things – the devil is in the detail. The overall figure might be the same, but it’s worth less as soaring inflation eats away at its value.
“The ability for local councils to raise council taxes by 5% without the need to ask residents is something we’re not willing to do, particularly in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis when household budgets are already stretched to breaking point.
“We’re firmly on the side of our residents and remain committed to freezing council tax both this year and next to keep more money in people’s pockets.
“Adequate, sustainable funding for social care services, which currently demands around 65p in every £1 of our total net budget, is an issue which has once again been brushed under the carpet. “
Councillor Rae Evans, Cabinet Member for Finance, Governance and Customer Services (Labour) said:
“In a crisis, through the pandemic and terrible local floods, we’ve shown how well we know our borough and how we’re best placed to help our residents.
“The cost-of-living crisis means it’s costing us far more today to do the same things we were doing just a few months ago. This at a time when more and more people than ever need our help. We’ve already seen applications to our crisis fund more than double compared to the same time last year.
“As a council, years of austerity mean that we’ve already been forced to find budget savings of £140 million a year. We now face an anxious wait for the detail on what level of funding the government will provide for the vital local services and cost of living support we provide.”