For those of you who have not heard the details of Mr Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review with regards to Local Government, he has announced a cut of 7.1% a year for 4 years; or effectively 25% cut in funding.
Now, as a Councillor on my group is always keen to point out, the devil will of course be in the detail. There are a number of tiers of local government and a number of different funding streams that could of course be cut in different ways.
The one I am most interested in at the moment is the Revenue Support Grants to District Councils, which in Harlow’s case makes up about one half of our General Fund spending. If that was to be cut by 7.1% a year for four years, we really will have to make some very significant and tough choices about spending in coming years, as I have repeatedly warned Harlow over recent months.
As an example, taking into account the savings we already have to make in our Medium Term Financial Strategy to balance the books in Harlow next year with a 7.1% cut in RSG would require a saving of about £2,500,000. Thats not easy, and thats not without pain, but it has to happen.