Cuts are causing hardship - but we won’t write to Government to complain, says leader

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 July 2013

Cllr John Dean, leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council

Cllr John Dean, leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council


THE leader at Welwyn Hatfield Council has admitted funding cuts are causing “a lot of hardship” – but he will not be writing to the Government to complain.

Councillor John Dean, Conservative, resisted calls to write to local government secretary Eric Pickles voicing his disquiet over decreases in Government grants.

He was challenged by Labour opposition leader councillor Kieran Thorpe to write to Whitehall calling for a rethink.

In response, Cllr Dean admitted he was unhappy about having to slash budgets, but said public authorities would have to “tough it out”.

He told a full council meeting: “Does the leader of this council think this council should be finding further cuts? No.”

Cllr Thorpe retorted: “If you don’t think Government funding should be cut further, what are you doing? The leaders of other Tory councils have written to Eric Pickles and asked him to stop cutting budgets.”

The opposition leader added: “If he [Cllr Dean] writes the letter, I’ll be happy to sign it with him.”

But the council boss said he would not be raising the matter with the Government.

Cllr Dean said: “I’m not going to write, because quite honestly although I’m not happy with the cuts, and though they’re causing this administration a lot of hardship, at least we’re aware these debts need to be settled.

“They can only be settled by everyone sharing the pain, that’s why we’ve got to tough it out.”

The council has already slashed more than £6million from its budget since the Government’s comprehensive spending review in 2010.

Earlier this year, the authority made £1.9million of cuts in its annual budget.

Last month, the Government announced a further 10 per cent of the Government’s grants to local authorities would be slashed.

Cllr Dean told the council chamber: “Every part of the public sector needs to pay off the debts left by Labour.

“This deficit has already been reduced by a third.

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