Council bosses say people have been short-changed by the Government over the true scale of funding cuts in South Tyneside.
South Tyneside Council received its provisional government funding settlement for 2015/16 yesterday and says it will be required to make £22million in savings – not the £6.8m announced by Local Government and Communities Minister Kris Hopkins on Thursday.
Coun Ed Malcolm, lead member for resources and innovation at South Tyneside Council, says the £161,662m the council is to receive from the Government in 2015/16 – compared to £168,482m in the current financial year – includes cash which is has to share with the NHS to support community-based health services.
He says the official figures also do not take into account the cost pressures facing local authorities for the increasing costs of caring for our elderly and vulnerable residents, general inflation and reductions in other specific Government funding.
Coun Malcolm said: “This is typical Tory spin. Dressing up these unprecedented cuts in a way that only serves to make them look better. The bottom line is that, as a council we have to make £22m of savings if we are to balance the budget.”
Coun Malcolm said the council had already had to make £100m worth of cuts.
He added: “We have made significant efficiencies and as a result have been able to protect the services people rely on but you can’t take over £100m out of South Tyneside and expect things to stay the same.
“I can assure everyone out there that we will continue to do all we can to minimise the impact of the cuts.”
The Government figures include cash not available to the council but must be used in agreement with health chiefs, principally on community-based health schemes to reduce the incidence of acute hospital care and residential care.
This includes district nursing and intermediate care services.