A Conservative-controlled local council has written to David Cameron to tell him the cuts included in his budget are “unrealistic”.
East Sussex County Council, a Tory stronghold since its creation, said the Government’s fiscal policy would “significantly reduce the quality of life for many people in East Sussex”.
The letter to the PM was signed by Councillor Keith Glazier, who leads the council, and the leaders of the other political party groups in East Sussex.
The local authority has cut more than £78 million since 2010 but has to make further savings of up to £90 million by April 2019, including £40 million from its adult social care budget.
This is despite a plan to increase council tax by 3.99 per cent raising £4.7, the maximum allowed by the Government without holding a costly local referendum.
“The fact that leaders of all parties have put their names to this letter shows that this is an issue which transcends politics,” Mr Glazier said.
“We have done everything possible to ensure we bear our share of the burden of reducing the national deficit, and produce a balanced and responsible budget, but the savings we are now having to make will place a heavy burden on some of our residents.
“We’re calling on the Government to acknowledge the impact of funding cuts, particularly on social care authorities, to work more closely with local councils and to adopt a fairer approach to the way it allocates funding.
The letter was signed by Labour, Liberal Democrat and Ukip group leaders on the council, as well as the leader of the area’s independents group.
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
1/8 Welfare payments will be slashed
One of the most controversial parts of the Conservative manifesto was to cut benefits for the working age poor by £12 bn over the next three years. But during the campaign they only said where £2 bn of these savings would come from. That leaves £10 bn still to find. Some experts think the only way they can close that gap is by means testing child benefit – with millions of families losing out
2/8 There will be tax cuts for those in work and those who die
The Tories will increase the threshold at which the 40p rate of tax becomes payable to £50,000 by 2020. They haven’t said so but it is also likely that at some point in the next five years they will abolish that 45p rate of tax altogether for the highest earners. They also want to increase the effective inheritance tax threshold for married couples and civil partners to £1m
3/8 There will be an in/out EU referendum in 2017
The next two years are going to be dominated by the prospect of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. First off David Cameron has the daunting task of negotiating a deal with other EU leaders an acceptable deal that he can sell to his party so he can go into the referendum campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote. This may be unachievable and it is possible that the Tories may end up arguing to leave. Opinion polls show Britain is divided on EU membership, one poll this year showed 51% said they would opt to leave compared to 49% who would vote to stay in
4/8 There will be more privatisation of the NHS
Having won the election the Tories now have a mandate to go further and faster reforming the NHS. In order to make cost savings there is likely to be greater private involvement in running services, while some smaller hospitals may lose services they currently provide like A&E and maternity units
5/8 There will be many more free schools – and traditional state schools will become a thing of the past
The Tories plans to create 500 new free schools and make 3,000 state schools become academies. They will also carry on reforming the Department of Education and remove more powers from local authorities over how schools are run
6/8 On shore wind farms will be a thing of the past and fracking will be the future
Government spending on renewable energy is under real threat now the Lib Dems are no longer in power with the Tories. Subsidies are likely to be slashed for off-shore wind farm and other green energy supplies. Meanwhile there will be generous tax break for fracking as ministers try and incentivise the industry to drill for onshore oil and gas
7/8 There maybe more free childcare – but not necessarily
In the campaign the Tories pledged to double the amount of free early education for three- and four-year-olds from 15 hours a week to 30. The extra hours would only be offered to working families where parents are employed for at least eight hours a week. However they have not said where the money will come from to fund the pledge
8/8 Workers' rights could be reduced
The Tories want to slash business regulation, merge regulator and cut costs. The Lib Dems stopped them from reducing the employment rights of workers in power – but these are now under threat
The letter was cc’d in to George Osborne, the Chancellor, and Greg Clark, the local government secretary.
Last November Mr Cameron came to blows with his own local Tory council, Oxfordshire County Council.
The Prime Minister was accused of not understanding the impact of his own policies on local services when he claimed the council should be making “back-office savings” and protecting frontline services.
Both East Sussex and Oxfordshire’s budget situation comes despite being two of the more wealthy county council in the UK.
An analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies released before the general election found that cuts to council budgets were sharpest in the UK’s poorest areas.
Inner-city boroughs like Tower Hamlets have lost out by 42.1 per cent since 2010 while leafier areas have comparatively escaped the axe.
Figures collated by Labour over the summer found that the 10 most deprived councils were facing cuts 18 times higher than that of the 10 richest councils.Reuse content