Finance Settlement Could 'Rip Heart Out of Services'

Hounslow hit hard by local government funding settlement


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The London Borough of Hounslow has been hit hard by the local government funding settlement announcement.

The settlement that the council receives from central Government reveals that for the next two years the borough will see its budget fall more than the national average.

The formula grant for Hounslow for 2011/12 is £90.7m and £81.6m for 2012/13 - a reduction of ten per cent.

Responding to the announcement, Cllr Jagdish Sharma, leader of the London Borough of Hounslow, said: "The scale of the cuts to our funding is unprecedented, and risks ripping the heart out of local public services. The Government has left us no choice but to cut some services and jobs next year, but we will do our best to apply them in the least bad way possible.

"This means we are being forced to make real cuts to services that people rely on. To help inform the tough choices we are going to have to make we will be consulting, from next week, on a range of savings proposals to help plug the gap in our finances.

"We are still committed to delivering the five pledges we made to residents - including cutting council tax, and driving out inefficiencies. While we may not be able to cut it this time, we hope we will be able to freeze it.

"We will do all we can to protect our most vulnerable residents - the frail elderly, disabled people, and vulnerable families and youngsters as well as trying to reduce the number of our hard-working staff who are made redundant.

"We now have to focus on redesigning services to try to meet the needs of local people. To do this properly will take time, which is something this settlement does not give us."

The information released so far suggests that the settlement for Hounslow is consistent with the estimates made at the time of the Comprehensive Spending Review (20 October). However, there is a considerable amount of information still to be received, including information on Department for Education support for schools and education.

December 15, 2010