The public statements by the Government are deliberately misleading. In a year that was expected to be less severe, the impact on local government is much more critical than the Government had previously indicated. Swale is likely to see a shortfall of £400k, though this is partly compensated by the grant supplied for allowing so many new homes in the Borough. KCC is going to be in a state of panic. They were already struggling to balance the books, with the cuts to early years funding and the loss of core education money because of the Government’s Academy programme.
Councils hit further by Coalition
This is not justfied by the need to cut the National Deficit. Local Government is being particularly hit. Cuts have been frontloaded on to Councils. It is cowardly in a way. Central Government politicians handing down the grief to locally elected politicians and then grandly presenting it as “localism”.
I am pretty sure the newly elected Police Commissioners are going to be asked to play the same role by the Government
Swale Borough Council will manage in the short term because it has built up what are large reserves for a District Council. KCC are going to find it much more difficult.
Overall, it is the long term trend that is most worrying. These cuts are set to continue for the next five or six years and it is really hard to see how authorities like Kent are going to manage. What a sham it is to talk about “localism”.
Roger Truelove, Leader of the Labour Group on Swale Borough Council & County Council candidate for Swale Central