North East councils face more cuts while wealthy South gains

The latest round of Government cuts will see North East councils lose £62m in funding in 2015 - see how we compare in a UK map

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes
Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes

Councils across the North East are bracing themselves for another round of funding cuts as the Government announced they would lose £62 million in 2015.

It comes on top of cuts of almost £68 million to come into effect next year.

The latest cuts will hit services across the region and mean local authorities have little choice but to continue with controversial reductions in services.

And figures published by the Department for Communities and Local Government confirmed that many councils in the North East will be hit much harder than those in other parts of the country.

The change in spending power in council areas across England is compared in our interactive map below:

 

For example, council funding will fall by £114.70 per dwelling in Newcastle upon Tyne in the 2015-16 financial year - while funding in Windsor and Maidenhead in the south east, home of Windsor Council and Eton school. actually goes up by £42 per household.

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, warned: “These spending cuts mean hardship for some of our most vulnerable”.

The figures show provisional funding allocations for 2015-16. They are subject to change before they are confirmed next year, but have been published to give councils the chance to plan ahead. At the same time, Ministers confirmed previously-published allocations for 2014-15.

The sums show council “spending power”, which brings together a range of funds including the main central government grant, council tax, dedicated funding to pay for social care provided by councils and the NHS, and an “Efficiency Support Grant” to help authorities cope with the cuts.

In 2015-16, Durham will lose £13m, Gateshead will lose £7.9m compared to the year previously. Newcastle upon Tyne will lose £14.3m, North Tyneside will lose £4.3m, South Tyneside will lose £7m, Sunderland will lose £11.3 million and Northumberland will lose £4.2m.

Northumberland County Council offices
Northumberland County Council offices
 

Across England as a whole, the average cut per dwelling is £45.18.

But in South Tyneside it is £101.15 and in Sunderland it is £90.45.

Meanwhile, spending power per dwelling will actually increase by £55 in Wokingham, in the wealthy South East, and £51 in Surrey.

However, while the North East suffered bigger cuts than some other parts of the country, it continued to have higher funding.

Funding per dwelling in Newcastle in 2015-16 will be £2,310 compared to £2,183 in England as a whole. In wealthy Windsor and Maidenhead it will be £1,581.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles insisted councils could do more to save money, for example by sharing back office functions such as finance departments.

He said: “Every bit of the public sector needs to do their bit to pay off the budget deficit, including local government which accounts for a quarter of all public spending.”

But Coun Forbes said: “This year’s finance settlement was as bad as we feared and it hits Newcastle and its people particularly hard. We face a cash cut of 4.6pc, much higher than the national average cut of 2.9pc.

“What is particularly startling is that other, wealthier, areas of the country will actually see their spending power increase over the next two years while Newcastle’s continues to go down.”

Labour MP Catherine McKinnell, who represents Newcastle upon Tyne North, said: “This Government continues to hit places like Newcastle with disproportionately higher funding cuts than wealthier areas of the country that have significantly less need.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer