COUNCILS in Dorset have been forced to slash their budgets by more than £126million after dramatic cuts in Government funding.
The figures have been released by Unison, which is warning that “far worse is yet to come” following the latest spending round by the chancellor and a possible £5.6billion cuts planned by 2015/2016.
Data published by the Department for Communities and Local Government reveal that in the two financial years between 2010/2011 and 2012/2013, total government support for local authorities in England fell by almost £11billion. Councils in the south west have been affected dramatically with Dorset County Council losing £66.5m in central funding, Bournemouth Borough Council losing £34.84m and Poole council losing £17.4m.
Tanya Palmer, Unison South West regional manager, said: “These budget cuts are damaging, and hitting at the heart of what councils can deliver in terms of providing good quality services across the South West.
“Things like caring for the elderly and the vulnerable or picking up the bins and monitoring schools performance are now second priority areas, these are essential services that councils deliver across the region and these massive cuts threaten those and many other vital services.”
David Higgins, Unison branch secretary at Bournemouth Borough Council, said the cuts were “horrendous and never-ending”.
He said: “There are fewer and fewer people to do the work needed and constant redundancies.
“The figure of £126m in Dorset is a shock and I think politicians don’t always see what staff have to deal with on the frontline.”
Cllr John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, said that by the financial year 2015/2016 he estimates Bournemouth would have lost 50 per cent of the central grant the council was receiving before the government’s austerity measures.
He said: “Everybody has their budgets stretched so it is up to us as a council to work hard to ensure that make tough choices and do everything we can to maintain frontline services.”
- Tomorrow we have a special report on Dorset County County’s mission to find an extra £48million in three years. Have you been affected by the local authority cuts?
If your services have been affected or you’ve lost your job as part of the cuts, let us know your views by commenting on bournemouthecho.co.uk or contacting Miriam Phillips in confidence using the details below.
Government cuts to funding in Dorset since 2010/2011
Dorset County Council: £66,539,000
Bournemouth Borough Council: £34,849,000
Borough of Poole Council: £17,460,000
Christchurch Council: £1,109,000
East Dorset: £1,012,000
North Dorset: £782,000
West Dorset: £2,282,000
Weymouth & Portland: £2,124,000