Leeds faces yet another blow from the Tory government in recently announced cuts to its budget.
As we’ve reported before, from 2010-2015, under the LibDem/Tory Coalition, Leeds saw its core government funding reduced by £180million – that means a drop of more than 40% in five years.
Now, on top of that, the Tory government has cut Leeds yet again. We expected the worst – a cut of £24million next year. We’ve taken an even bigger body blow – a £34million cut to the government grant.
– To get that into perspective – it’s the equivalent of the entire Leeds City Council contribution to the public transport budget of West Yorkshire Combined Authority – or to 1400 Council jobs.
We’ve already reported the huge cuts to the Public Health budget recently announced. On Wednesday a report to Leeds Council executive board laid bare the scale of those cuts.
Osborne’s Autumn statement ‘savings’ will mean a reduction of £3.9million in 2016-17, and £7.3million by 2019/20. That means that Leeds Council will have £25 million less to spend on public health between 2015/16 and 2019/20.
– That means £25million less on sexual health, school nursing, health visiting, suicide prevention, domestic violence prevention and drug and alcohol treatment services and weight loss support – as well as health protection services including immunisation programmes and infection control
Be in no doubt about it, the impact of the Tory government’s actions on the people of Leeds will be brutal.
Judith Blake, Labour leader of Leeds City Council said
“Given the northern councils like Leeds have borne the brunt of spending cuts since 2010, it does not come as any surprise that again, despite positive rhetoric, we are once more facing brutal cuts to our funding from the government – far worse than we expected.
These cuts will undoubtedly impact on our ability to deliver a range of important services, and mean we have to change how we operate in the future as the resource is simply no longer there. When you take into account other cuts to welfare and the former NHS public health budget, there is no doubt the next few years are going to be extremely difficult for residents who rely on public services. On top of this, as the government is cutting back on its grant support to councils, council tax paid by the people of Leeds will have to stretch further than ever before to help fund the services that remain.
Despite this extremely difficult environment, we remain absolutely committed to protecting the most vulnerable. We can feel extremely proud of what has been achieved in Leeds, for example in terms of job and apprenticeship creation and economic investment. However we know that some people are still struggling, as shown by the increased use of food banks. We will continue to do everything possible to reduce the impact of these cuts on the people of Leeds – as much as we possibly can.”