Chief tight-lipped on budget decisions

SENIOR North Somerset Councillors are making some very difficult decisions ahead of a budget announcement next week.

SENIOR North Somerset councillors say they are making some very difficult decisions’ ahead of a budget announcement next week.

When approached by the Weston & Somerset Mercury this week, the unitary authority’s executive member for finance refused to say whether they were considering redundancies, council tax increases or cuts in services.

Finance chief Councillor Tony Lake said: “We are expecting a very tough budget round and we are going to have to make some very difficult decisions.”

Last week the Local Government Association, which promotes the interests of local authorities, criticised the amount of money Whitehall said it plans to give to local councils.

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It described the settlement, known as the comprehensive spending review, as the worst in a decade’.

The review sets out the financial framework for councils across the country for the next three years.

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Responding to the review the association said: “The money is simply not enough for councils to provide everything ministers have promised and meet the extra cost of looking after an ageing population which will cost £9million every single day.

“The council tax payer will once again be left to pick up the bill for promises made by the Government.”

Cllr Lake added: “We do not have details of the exact funding we will get. It will come out in dribs and drabs over the next few months.

“This council has historically been under-funded compared with similar authorities, we do not see that is going to change. I would not like to comment on any rumours in any particular areas.”

North Somerset leader Councillor Nigel Ashton has asked Weston’s MP John Penrose to lobby central Government on his behalf.

The Mercury asked Cllr Ashton what steps the council will take to get a fairer sum from Government but there was no reply from his office at the time of going to press yesterday (Weds).

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