Budgets will put services under threat
The leader of Kent County Council has warned of a ‘car crash round the corner’ after the government announced budgets for town halls are to be slashed by a further 10%.
Cllr Paul Carter said compulsory job losses, council tax increases and service cuts were all likely as a result of the Chancellor’s continued squeeze on the public sector to deal with the national deficit.
And there was bad news for council staff after the government said it was ending automatic pay rises.
Reacting to yesterday’s announcement, Cllr Carter warned: “We did expect this and are planning for that, but there is enormous uncertainty about whether we will be able to go on providing good quality frontline services.”
The council is expected to reveal some details of a far-reaching shake-up in its approach to key services next week, which is likely to involve a mix of more outsourcing to the private sector.
Mr Carter also questioned the government’s pledge to provide councils with money to freeze council tax bills.
“The amount of money is not adequate to cover a council tax increase. A car crash is around the corner.”
There could be better news with the government announcing a £50bn investment in building and infrastructure schemes. It is thought that after years of delay, the government will give the green light to the dualling of the A21.
KCC also expects to get a significant sum to deal with the demand for more school places.