Councils told by Government to do 'more with less'
Local councils must continue to provide "reasonable" services to the public despite swingeing cuts in central government funding, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles warned today.
Mr Pickles, who is due later today to set out the financial settlement for councils in England for the next two years, said that local authorities would have to do "more for less".
With town hall chiefs braced for cuts of around 10%, Mr Pickles insisted that his plans were in line with advice given by the Local Government Association.
"I have been offered advice by the Local Government Association as to what councils can manage in terms of a reduction in their spending powers and I am well within those figures for the majority of councils," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
He said that it was up to councils to cut costs through measures such as sharing chief executives and back office services to ensure that frontline services were protected.
"I am expecting local authorities to provide more for less, I am expecting them to be able to provide a reasonable level of service," he said.
"Local authorities shouldn't have some kind of alibi in feeling that these have been imposed from the centre and therefore they have got to pass every single cut on to the frontline."
Mr Pickles is also publishing the Government's Localism Bill to give groups in local communities greater scope to take control of some council services in line with David Cameron's vision of the "Big Society".
"This is about a new constitutional arrangement, it is about shifting power down to localities," he said.
Shadow communities secretary Caroline Flint dismissed the Government's plans for greater "localism" as "cynical and unfair".
"Their plans ring hollow when at the same time they are cutting local government by 27% on average over the next four years. It's offering councils devolution while holding a gun to their head," she said.
"The coalition's decision to hit lower and middle income neighbourhoods with the heaviest cuts in the next 12 months will inevitably impact on the vital frontline services families rely on, jobs and growth."
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Kenya bus attack: Primary school head teacher plays dead to escape slaughter by Islamic extremists
Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...