Radio Sandwell Local News

Prime Minister clashes with council leader over budget cuts

2013-09-05 23:55:18

Albert Bore
Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore

The Prime Minister has hit back at Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore over claims grant cuts could cripple the authority.

Labour leader Sir Albert has claimed that extra Whitehall cuts meant the council would have to make savings of £825 million a year by 2017, £210 million more than expected.

However, David Cameron said the city was only facing a real terms spending decrease of 0.7 per cent, and it received more than the national average funding.

Sir Albert claimed central government 'was pulling the wool over people's eyes', and said spending power had actually fallen by 13 per cent over the past three years - compared to the national average of 9.3 per cent.

The council leader has called on the National Audit Office to investigate how local authorities were funded by government.

But Mr Cameron said: "The local authorities have to cut their cloth according to the money they have available and the whole country is having to take difficult decisions because of the mess left by the last Labour government.

David Cameron
David Cameron makes a speech at the Tory Party Conference at the ICC in Birmingham in October 2012

"Birmingham is only getting a 0.7 per cent decrease in spending power.

"I don't think Birmingham is hard done by, but I think politicians in the city need to be careful how they manage the money."

Coun Bore (Lab, Ladywood) claimed a series of new Treasury and Department for Communities and Local Government moves had drastically hit the council’s spending power - and brutal service cuts would be inevitable.

Sir Albert added: "The government is being disingenuous talking about a 0.7 per cent decrease in spending power. The figure quoted by the Prime Minister for Birmingham City Council's reduction in spending power is only for one year.

"Our spending power has reduced by 13 per cent over the last three years, compared with a national average of 9.3 per cent. By 2015/16 we expect that our cumulative reduction in spending power to be around 27 per cent. And by 2017/18 the cumulative figure is likely to be about a one third reduction in spending power."

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