Shock at �2million funding cut for Welwyn Hatfield Council

WELWYN Hatfield Council will lose more than �2million in Government funding next year, in an move described as “not good news” for the borough.

Finance bosses at the council have been left reeling following Monday’s announcement by the Government on cuts to local authority funding, which revealed the borough would receive just �5.7m next year – a reduction of almost �2.2m.

The cuts are part of the Government’s plans to slash central funding to local authorities by 28 per cent over four years.

As previously reported in the WHT, the council had been expecting to lose around �1.7m – and had subsequently budgeted for that scenario.

But the unexpected figure means it will have to dig into its savings in order to plug the gap – and look at further cutbacks over the next four years.

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Deputy council leader Alan Franey, executive member for resources, said: “This is a tough local government finance settlement and not good news for Welwyn Hatfield.

“We have already been working hard to achieve a significant reduction in our budget for next year – however, the lateness of this announcement has placed greater pressure on us to consider how we manage future cuts in our budget and how we balance the books for 2011/12.”

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Council leader John Dean said that cutting public services was “the last resort”.

“There’s three ways we can go about this,” he said. “We can take it out of the savings, we can increase fees and prices, or we can cut services.

“The last thing I want to do is cut services. That is a last resort as far as I’m concerned.”

Hertfordshire County Council, meanwhile, will lose �33.5m of central funding next year.

Deputy council leader David Lloyd said: “The first indications are it’s broadly where we thought it would be.

“Until we’ve looked at all of the figures we won’t have a clear picture.”

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