Jeremy Hunt’s budget cuts spark fears of ‘existential threat’ to English councils

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Jeremy Hunt has been warned it will trigger fire sales of public assets, reduce councils to emergency services and put the vulnerable at greater risk. Autumn description Pointing to a new wave of austerity.

Council leaders say there will be a huge increase in the number of councils by “handing back the keys to city hall to government” because they are no longer sustainable. In an angry response to the fall statement, he said several “blue flag counties” could be bankrupt as soon as next year’s election is called.

The problem comes after economists concluded that the Chancellor’s tax cuts, which came into force last week, were for future public spending. Once settlements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are taken into account, government departments without protection in England 3.4% annual reduction for five years.

The conditions of the prisons, the upheavals in the legal system and further education put pressure on him. Sir Bob Neill, chairman of the Commons justice select committee, said there was a case for “re-looking at which parts should be protected” from spending cuts.

Traditionally, ministers have chosen to prioritize the NHS and schools.

However, after austerity since 2010, there is now an “existential threat” to local services – a big council tax rise could be on the cards.

“Things are starting to fall apart,” says one desperate leader. Another warned: “We must recognize that the rest of the country will fail if we are not properly funded.” “The system is completely and utterly broken,” said a third.

A senior Tory said: “The Treasury is well aware that some key blue counties are on the brink: it doesn’t look good to fall just before the election.”

Mel Locke, Somerset’s director of adult services, warned of the true human cost. “There’s no doubt about it, the elderly and disabled are not getting timely support,” she said.

“Some go to hospitals or leave late. This means that life will be limited and predetermined. This is the main thing.

Shaun Davies, leader of Telford and Wrekin Council and chairman of the Local Government Association, said there would be a big increase in the number of councils in financial trouble. Any proposals to reduce our current deficit and we will see the number of councils set for bankruptcy rise from one in 10 to a much higher number.

You have done the reset. They did the asset sale, they did the staff reduction, they did the service change. You have already used the backups. Once those things are gone, they’re gone. My concern is that there is a wave of councils effectively returning the key to government. Because there is no way out.

Councils in bankruptcy can issue a Section 114 notice, indicating that they cannot balance their budget. Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of the Local Government Intelligence Unit, which polled council leaders, said: “It’s starting to be talked about as an existential threat to local government.

“What surprised me the last couple of days was how angry the leaders were,” Carr-West said. “They’re big Labor towns like Bradford, but that’s it. Kent and Hampshire – Large conservative councils.

“I do not believe there is a conspiracy to destroy local government. But I think we’re going to sleep where councils don’t.

He said that although property can be sold in a short period of time, a large amount of public wealth will be transferred to private hands.

Elsewhere, there are concerns about the condition of the prison property. Lack of experienced officers. Charlie Taylor, chief inspector of prisons, said the situation was “very poor” and his biggest concern was the lack of movement of prisoners and the impact on rehabilitation.

“Only one of the 37 prisons we examined in our last annual reporting site was good or reasonably good for target activity,” Taylor said. “The danger is that people who go back to prison and commit crimes continue to be a revolving door, costing the taxpayer a lot of money.

There is a threat to further education funding over the next five years. Lewis Hodge, associate director of the Education Policy Institute, said: “Funding cuts to further education have almost doubled what schools are experiencing, and more than a quarter of children live in relative poverty with data still incomplete. It shows a rapid increase in price comparisons over the past year.

He added: “Regardless of the next election, it is clear that there is much work to be done to get education back on track after a deeply disruptive epidemic and a decade of funding cuts.”

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