From the TUC

Cuts Watch #399: Budget cuts and job losses in London Councils

03 Mar 2011, by in Cuts Watch

Councils in London have started to pass their financial budgets, and further councils in London will decide on how to make savings in the coming days as a result of the funding reductions they are facing from Central Government.

The chart below, produced from Government figures, gives more detail about the relative scale of cuts across London Boroughs and also shows that poorer boroughs with high deprivation levels – like Islington, Haringey, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham – are among the hardest hit in London. As my previous post discussed, the cuts in Local Government funding in the UK have not been even and the settlement has resulted in the poorest councils facing the biggest hits. The cuts in the Government grant are also significantly front loaded so the impact of the cuts will be immediate and hard.

London cash reductions in government grant 2011-12 settlement :

Summary of Cuts

Bromley Council has agreed to save £33million over the next two years, £22million will be cut from its net budget of £204million this year. It will also lose 109 posts out of 2,534 this year with consultation underway on a further 67 posts. The reported savings include:

  • Stopping the in-house homecare provision – saving £400,000 in 2011-2012 and £600,000 in 2012-13.
  • Reducing the funding to sheltered housing – saving £500,000 in 2011-2012 and £800,000 in 2012-2013.
  • Ending grants to poor families for school uniforms and shoes – to save £100,000 in the 2011-2012 and £200,000 in 2012-2013.
  • Axing school crossing patrols – saving £0 in 2011-2012 and £233,000 in 2012-13.
  • Having just three children and family centres across the borough rather than the 23 originally planned – saving £600,000 in 2011-2012 and £2.8million in 2012-13.
  • Closing either Penge or Anerley library – saving £90,000 in 2012-2013.

Brent Council will be cutting a £100 million from its budget over the next three years, it will cut £41.7million from its budget of  £267.9 million in 2011/12.  In addition 400 jobs will be lost rather than the 350 job losses previously announced; before these cuts were announced the council employed 3,500 people. It is reported that the children and families budget is being sliced by almost 15 per cent with plans to axe around half of all children’s centre staff , while cuts to adult social care are expected to save £1.25million by 2012.

Camden Council – £35 million will be cut in its budget this year from a net figure of £286.4 million. The council will look to save £3.2 million from children’s services, Acol and Caversham’s children’s centres could close and the weekly number of free nursery hours may be reduced from 25 to 15. There will also be a reduction in grants given to nurseries and drop-in centres.

The council said it plans to lose 1,000 of a total of 4,796 jobs over three years, 20% of whom would be senior managers.

Croydon council will be making cuts of £90 million over the next 3 years, £22.7 million savings from a budget of £273.8 million will be made in 2011-12, and 310 council jobs are expected to be lost. In Croydon, though the libraries were saved, budgets for youth services and the arts have been cut by over £28,000, causing concern for youth groups in the area.

Haringey Council have approved £84 million of cuts from a total budget of £273 million over the next three years. The council said its biggest cuts – worth £46 million – would take place in 2011-12.  More than 1,000 jobs will be lost, from a total of 4,500 staff, as a result of the spending cuts. Labour council leader Claire Kober said:

The government cuts are a hammer blow to the people of Haringey, particularly as we are already one of the most deprived boroughs in the country…… The sheer scale of the cuts we are being forced to make will undoubtedly now have a detrimental effect on vital services, and on the people of Haringey.

Services for young people and elderly people will be scaled back, and less money will be spent on libraries and leisure centres.

It is reported that the cuts to the youth service include:

  • Youth Service budget to be cut by 75% to around £650,000, saving £1.96million by 2013. Eight youth centres have closed already, the remaining five are under threat.
  • Connexions careers advice service for vulnerable young people has reduced by 75% saving £1.64million.
  • Children’s centre service reduced and targeted at most vulnerable, saving £6.52million by 2013.

This comes as Haringey was named as having one of the highest numbers of children living in severe poverty.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council, are making £65 million of savings over three years. 700 jobs will be lost over three years, with 330 to go in the coming financial year. The council reductions include:

  • £500,000 saving on voluntary sector grants.
  • £310,000 reorganisation of the library service.
  • A consultation is underway on a major reorganisation of family support and children’s centres – which is set to save £3.26million a year.

Islington will experience a £100 million cut over four years, £39million of direct Government cuts are in the next financial year with a further £12million following in the financial year 2012/13. The council will also lose around 300 jobs; the borough’s finance chief warned up to 700 Town Hall jobs will disappear over the next four years.

Lambeth Council has finalised its plans to cut £79million over three years. The plans approved include a cut to 24 lollipop patrols at school crossings, three quarters of public toilets will be closed; and maintenance of streets, parks and cemeteries will be scaled back, along with pothole repairs.

Newham Council has agreed to cut £100million over the next three years. Newham said £47.9million would be saved from its total budget of £291.5million this year. Around 200 council posts are to go at the authority.

Westminster Council is to cut up to 450 jobs over the next two years as it looks to save £60million. The job losses were approved as part of the borough’s 2011/12 budget which has been reduced to £236million.

As further information becomes available on cuts in Local Government we will be reporting  this on the Touchstone blog.

My previous blog in November 2010 also looks at the impact of cuts in London.