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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Fighting for fair funding for Hackney

Over the past weeks, Mayor Jules Pipe has been using every opportunity to urge the Coalition Government not to make devastating cuts to Hackney’s budget.

As we've said before, councils were told that their funding will be cut by 27% between now and 2015 and Hackney Council had been planning to make savings of £26m next year which would have meant the Council could have coped next year without any reductions to frontline services.

But it now looks that the cuts next year are far worse - over £50m in one year. The details are still emerging, but the frontloading of budget cuts to next year means that unless there are further funding streams still to be revealed by the Government to make up the shortfall, the Council will be faced with some tough decisions to make.

At last night's Full Council, Mayor Jules Pipe outlined the steps he had been taking to fight for fair funding for Hackney. He has written to Eric Pickles – the Secretary of State for Local Government – urging him to think again over the severity of the cuts. At a summit of councillors from across London, Eric Pickles said that Hackney’s figures were ‘a fiction’ (full story
here). Jules Pipe is pushing the Secretary of State to confirm that the 20% cut won't happen in writing - more here.

At Full Council last night, alongside all the issues discussed in the previous post, a motion was passed calling on the Council to publicise its opposition to the unfair and unnecessary cuts. This was fully endorsed by all 50 Labour councillors on Hackney Council. The Lib Dems wanted to tone down the wording to just express ‘concern’ about the cuts, and then abstained. The Tory group failed to vote at all.

The text of the motion is:

This Council:
  • is outraged by the scale of the cuts to local authorities announced by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government on 20th October
  • Notes the imminent announcement of the funding decision by the Government
  • Notes that, despite the Government rhetoric of 7% cuts per year, the true cuts could be closer to 20% in year one
  • Deplores the lack of clarity from the government about the extent of the cuts for next year
  • Is outraged that the cuts are made worse in the most deprived boroughs such as Hackney by the removal of additional grants that tackled inequality
  • Is concerned about the impact of the cuts on vital public services and on the lives of our most vulnerable residents.
This Council:
  • notes the lobbying of the government undertaken by the Mayor in opposition to these funding cuts
  • supports the Mayor’s lobbying of Government to restore the grants paid to inner city areas such as Hackney to tackle our significant areas of need
This Council resolves:
  • to call on the Mayor and the Council to publicise its opposition to these unfair and unnecessary cuts

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