And Councillor Mary Mears said that the council was in a relatively good position after the statement by Chancellor George Osborne on behalf of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition.
Councillor Mears said: “We’ve been preparing the ground for the last year in Brighton and Hove to deliver savings of more than £50 million over the four years following the spending review and we’re well on track.
“Of course we will have to wait to see the final detail but the 7.1 per cent annual reductions as local government’s contribution to paying off the national debt are broadly what we were expecting.
“There was also some very good news. In particular
- an end to the ring-fencing of virtually all our revenue grants giving us much greater flexibility as to how we spend our money
- confirmation of the council tax freeze for next year
- an extra £2 billion for adult social care
- rising schools budgets for the next five years and the introduction of a ‘pupil premium’ for poorer children
- introduction of tax increment financing enabling us to put additional investment into new major infrastructure projects which create jobs
“We want to reassure residents that the efficiency savings we have been making, and will continue to make, will have as little effect as possible on the essential frontline services that touch the lives of so many vulnerable people.
“We’re doing this by transforming the way we provide services, eradicating duplication, sharing services with partner organisations and cutting out waste.
“This council is in a good position compared to many others.
“We’ve known for months, if not years, that we’d have to make savings because of the mess the last government left the economy in, saddling us with huge national debt repayments and one of the largest structural budget deficits in the developed world.
“So we welcome and endorse the action being taken by the coalition government to put UK PLC’s house back in order.
“Debt interest payments alone will fall by £5 billion over the course of the spending review period thanks to the measures they are taking.
“That is equivalent to 50 hospitals or 100,000 teachers.
“The IMF, the World Bank, the OECD, the European Commission, the Governor of the Bank of England and even Tony Blair have all endorsed this approach and I think we all look forward to 2015 when this huge structural deficit is eradicated.
“Those who oppose the approach of George Osborne, by burying their heads in the sand and refusing to accept the enormity of the deficit, are becoming increasingly isolated.”
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