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Conservative councils attack Pickles cuts

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Conservative council leaders have vented their fury on Eric Pickles over spending cuts.

Sky News reports that the leaders warned of dire consequences in letters to the communities and local government secretary.

It reported that North Yorkshire CC leader John Weighell wrote to Mr Pickles in December: “The implications for North Yorkshire are potentially devastating and I believe that the settlement is unfair in the way that it treats this council with serious consequences for front line services.

“The timescale that we are now expected to reduce budgets further is bound to result in a higher impact on front line services than any of us would want.”

South Cambridgeshire DC leader Ray Manning (Con) warned: “The timing and nature of the decision to cut the reward grant in year has caused widespread concern, particularly from the voluntary sector. This is doing little to help or support government’s localism agenda.”

Peter Martin, leader of Essex CC complained that Mr Pickles had damaged the county’s reputation by claiming that it had hoarded reserves of £200m

He wrote: “The £200m is a headline-grabbing figure but in reality only £33m is not earmarked for a purpose… I am concerned public understanding of the decisions we will have to take will be undermined if they are left with a misunderstanding from press reports that councils are hoarding money for no purpose.”

Derbyshire CC complained that: “Highlighting just the headline reserves is playing into the hands of our local Labour opposition and the trade unions.”

Other Tory protests have come from Kent CC, Bath and North East Somerset Council, Ashford BC, Isle of Wight Council and Chelmsford BC.

 

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