By Peter McLaren-Kennedy •
Published: 15 Nov 2022 • 8:25
Council refuse collection - Credit Barry Barnes / Shutterstock.com
The leaders of the two councils published a letter on Tuesday, November 15 which they sent to the prime minister warning of the impending financial disaster.
In the letter that say that “drastic cuts” to current services would not be enough to patch up the huge holes in their budgets. These they say have been created by slow growth in income and rising costs particularly in adult and children’s social care.
Kent leader, Roger Gough, and Hampshire leader, Rob Humby, said in the letter the government had a choice. Either fund councils properly or repeal outdated laws that force councils to provide uneconomic services like libraries or sit by and watch “two great counties sleepwalk into a financial disaster.”
Saying that councils are seeing deficits on a scale never seen before: “The problem is simple: the additional money that we can raise from council tax and business rates barely covers the normal inflationary pressures that we face each year.
“This leaves significant growth, particularly in adults’ and children’s social care, totally unfunded.
“Without a fundamental change either in the way in which these two services are funded, or in our statutory obligations, all of upper-tier local government will soon go over the cliff edge.”
Both councils have said that if the situation continues, they will seek section 114 bankruptcy protection. That won’t stop the councils from operating, but it would oblige them to make drastic cuts to services, to cut staff and sell off assets such as social housing, development sites and office buildings.
The news that Kent and Hampshire County Councils are facing bankruptcy adds to the headache that the current government are facing in trying to plug a black hole in their finances.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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