Annual spend on council services in Rugby down £7m in nine years - The Rugby Observer

Annual spend on council services in Rugby down £7m in nine years

Rugby Editorial 28th Nov, 2019 Updated: 28th Nov, 2019   0

SPENDING on council-run services annually in Rugby has dropped by nearly £7million in nine years due to cuts in funding for local authorities, figures released by the TUC reveal.

Since 2010, Warwickshire County Council and Rugby Borough Council (RBC) have had to make savings totalling over £102million due to reductions in government funding, resulting in cuts to services and Council Tax rises.

Services which have suffered include children’s centres, the fire service, transport and highways, social care, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, homeless hostels, health visitors, young carers and special educational needs.

Meanwhile, more costs have been passed on to residents via Council Tax – which has risen by over £350 to nearly £1,880 for an average Band D property in Rugby – and through extra charges for services like green bin collections.

Funding for councils will dwindle further next year when the government’s Revenue Support Grant is phased out entirely.

Revealing the £7million figure, the TUC called for council budgets to be restored to pre-2010 levels – echoed by three of the four Rugby candidates standing in the General Election on December 12.

But incumbent Conservative MP Mark Pawsey said he was pleased RBC’s front-line services had been maintained over recent years thank to ‘prudent financial management’.

He said: “In addition to revenue from Council Tax payers and central government, RBC is looking at commercial opportunities to generate additional revenue, enabling the council to invest further in services.

“The government’s recent Spending Round outlined a number of measures to support local councils. I know councillors and officers at RBC will be submitting the appropriate applications to ensure that Rugby residents will benefit from this government provided funding.”

Labour’s Debbie Bannigan said residents were being asked to pay more for less.

She said: “I don’t think it is right that councils should have to ask people to pay for their green bin because their funds from central government have been cut, or that people who are on a tight budget are asked to pay more through their council tax while their wages don’t increase.

“We need a fundamental overhaul of our public finances. We will deliver much more than a reinstatement of the cuts, by reinforcing local democracy to ensure resources go where Rugby people need them.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Rana Das-Gupta said cuts meant local councils were less able to develop services.

He said: “It also means homelessness cases and housing issues are not being dealt with as quickly as possible.

“The next administration at Westminster needs to ensure long-term sustainable funding for local government, to allow councils like Rugby to increase personnel and specifically ensure sufficient financial resources for local authorities.”

Becca Stevenson of the Green Party said the ‘vicious and unprecedented’ cuts affected almost everyone in the borough.

She said: “This includes, but is not limited to, the reduction in domestic waste collection services, problems with providing adequate housing to people in need resulting in an increasing number of homeless people on our streets, and delays in the implementation and promotion of alternative travel initiatives.

“I want to see funding not only restored to its pre-2010 levels but increased in real terms.”

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