In June the Chancellor announced that local councils would see a further 10% cut to their budgets from 2015. This would have meant a cut of £17.5 million in the overall settlement in 2015/16.
However, a 'technical consultation' on how the government proposes to allocate the reductions between councils released at the end of July indicates an even worse position for Camden.
The consultation indicates that Camden will face cuts in its Revenue Support Grant of £28m in 2015/16 – a reduction in the grant of 29%.
The additional cut outlined by the Department for Communities and Local Government would increase Camden’s forecast deficit for 2015/16 to £30m and push forward the need to deliver savings even faster than before.
Government have not just moved the goalposts, they have moved the stadium.
The additional cut alone, slipped under the radar by the government, is the equivalent to an increase in Council Tax of between 10% and 11%.
The overall effect of the 2015/16 cut is the equivalent of £311 on band D Council Tax – a notional rise of 30%. The sets the gap we have to meet from 2015-18 at £60-£70m on top of the £83.5m we have already cut.
Once again government are front loading their cuts, and targeting more deprived areas, meaning that we will be forced to balance our budgets faster.
After the previous cuts we have had to make to balance our budget, it is harder to deliver further savings without damaging services that are valued by residents.
We will now need to go back and review our forecasting to ensure that we can start to prepare.