This year’s budget to pay for essential council services has been slashed by half a million pounds, after the Goverment’s shock announcement last month it is making further cuts to local authority funding.
Bedford Borough Council’s 2015/16 budget, approved this February and implemented in April, was extensively consulted on and drawn up based on funding levels the Government had committed to at the time.
It included £10 million of savings, due in part to previous huge government cuts which saw the council’s main grant cut by a third in just two years.
However, the council’s funding will be cut further due to the announcement, made by George Osborne in June, that £200 million will be taken back nationally by the government.
The money is being taken from funding the Government had previously allocated to local authorities to spend on public health.
Bedford Borough Council officials have calculated this move will leave the council £500,000 worse off this year, and every subsequent year.
Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “Taking back money already granted for the council and cutting its budget during the year is a reckless and brutal move by the Government.
“Services are being provided now on the basis of the budget that was set.
“We don’t even know exactly what the figure for the cut will be even now, but we estimate that it’s likely to be around £500,000.
“What is certain,” he added: “is that it will put further pressure on already hugely depleted resources.”
The severity of cuts to council funding will affect local authorities across the country as they are already a quarter of the way through the financial year.
The borough has announced its shortfall in the week the Government unveiled a further £37 billion of cuts to public spending in the Chancellor’s post-election budget delivered yesterday (July 8).