Tory council publicly warns David Cameron his cuts are 'unrealistic'

The council says the cuts will make life worse for people in East Sussex

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Indy Politics

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.

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.