£5 billion black hole facing local government every year

Date: Wednesday 27th December 2017

Sir, I read with interest your article “Cash-strapped council plans to spend £345m” (Herald, 9th December).

I thank you for acknowledging the financial black hole facing local government which collectively totals more than £5 billion per year to deliver the services which we have a duty to deliver, and the challenges this creates for Cumbria County Council.

It is worth reminding residents that we use our capital investment program to deliver invest-to-save schemes to support the delivery of revenue savings, and that since 2011-12 the council has reduced its annual revenue expenditure by £214 million.

Even this large reduction in annual expenditure is not going to be enough moving forward, and, over the next few years, unless government listens to what all of local government is saying and doesn’t continue to cut its contribution to local government, there needs to be delivered an additional £71 million of revenue savings.

Capital investment in care homes, schemes to support children, street lighting and highways contributes to delivery of those savings and this enables us to continue to provide services which support the most vulnerable residents across Cumbria.

I am sure that the majority of residents will agree that Cumbria County Council should be supported in its decision to continue to invest wherever possible in such difficult financial times, especially as it does so in a prudent way, ensuring that all available resource (both capital and revenue) is used effectively to support those living, working and visiting the county, and particularly those who are most in need of our services. Yours etc,

IAN STEWART

(Cumbria County Council deputy leader and cabinet member for finance)

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