London Labour council leaders have gathered to warn that cuts to local government funding are pushing councils in London to breaking point. The meeting took place ahead of a campaign event planned for this week (Thursday 29th November) in the constituency of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire MP.
The event, part of the ‘Breaking Point’ campaign, seeks to highlight the devastating cuts that have been forced on local councils.
Cuts imposed by the Tory Government since 2010 have meant that –
London councils have lost 60p out of every £1 of core funding that the last Labour Government was spending on local government in 2010.
By 2020, funding to councils in London will have been cut by over £4 billion (63%).
Tower Hamlets Council has seen its core funding cut by £148m since 2010 – the equivalent of 64%. Ongoing government cuts and rising demand for services mean in the coming three years Tower Hamlets Council will have to save a further £44m.
The Government’s cuts come despite rising demand for vital council services, such as emergency support and protection for children. Councils across London recognise the importance of these crucial services, and collectively spent £100 million more than budgeted for last year due to rising demand.
Despite facing similar gaps in funding for other vital frontline services, like care for older people and tackling homelessness, London councils are being forced to make further savings of at least £2.1 billion to balance their budgets over the next four years.
The cuts to boroughs in London are also deeply unfair, as councils in London serve some of the most deprived communities in the country. The Trust for London has found that 27% of Londoners are living in poverty (after housing costs), compared to 21% in the rest of England.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said:
“The clear message from mayors and leaders across London is that austerity is not over. Continued cuts mean harder and harder decisions, and in boroughs like Tower Hamlets where we’ve already had to save nearly £150m the decisions are getting more difficult.
“We’re urgently calling on the Government to recognise that council budgets cannot be seen as easy targets for cuts – the cuts we face have very serious impacts on our residents.”
Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council and Leader of London Councils Labour Group, said:
“London is a vibrant and diverse city that delivers a huge amount each year to the national economy. We need public services to match our capabilities and ambition. The recent National Budget did little to put London boroughs in a financially sustainable position.”