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24 September 2013, 06:00
Council leaders all across Suffolk say they are going to have to work together and share more services to deal with a 40% cut in funding.
From April 2014 until March 2016, Suffolk councils say they are expecting to experience a £62.7 million cut in government funding, equivalent to 39%. They also claim that if the costs associated with increasing demand for services, inflation and an additional two years of Government austerity cuts (2016/17-2017/18) are taken into account, more than £160 million will need to be saved.
The political leaders and chief executives from the county council, the seven district and borough authorities and met with Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner and chief constable in Ipswich to find ways of working together to save money.
Leaders vowed to build on existing joint working arrangements and collaborate further to protect
services. They also agreed not take financial decisions which simply move costs around the public sector and to find ways of integrating services. They agreed to call on Suffolk MPs to raise the implications of the funding cuts with communities secretary Eric
Councillor Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council’s leader, said:
“It’s important that we do not underestimate the scale of the financial challenge facing local government in the next two years.
“But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that we can do, together, to help manage the challenge.
“Local government needs to lead by example and find ways of working together to make the savings that are needed.”
The estimates are based on a consultation currently being run by the Government which is looking at what funding will be available to local councils in the next two financial years. The indications are that all eight Suffolk authorities would see a reduction in grant funding - in some cases by as much as 49%.