SHOCK AT SCALE OF CASH CUT FOR SOUTH HOLLAND

COUNCIL bosses face a fight to save frontline services after the Government revealed it will cut the amount it hands over to South Holland by more than a fifth.

South Holland District Council will see its “revenue spending power” cut by 8.53 per cent – but deputy leader Paul Przyszlak explained that the cash it receives from the Government will fall from £9.2million for this year to £7.3million.

That drop – £1.9 million, or 21 per cent – is partly offset by the fact that the council no longer has to look after bus passes but handing that over to Lincolnshire County Council still leaves bosses having to find £1.4million in savings – a figure above the £1million they had predicted.

Coun Przyszlak said: “It is definitely worse than we thought. We thought we would have to take a million out and it is £1.4million now. We will work with this. We haven’t a choice.

“Because of the back office savings and the savings to come out of the merger with Breckland we thought we were comfortable for the next two years with no major effect on services.

“Around the edges there might have been some small cuts but now we have to revisit that and hopefully we can do that without affecting the likes of emptying the bins.

“The way this is you can never say never.”

Coun Przyszlak said that the council’s commitment to sharing services will stand it in good stead – and the authority’s back office firm Compass Point could soon make cash by being paid to carry out work for other bodies.

Changes to funding for new homes and business rates could open up new sources of revenue for the council in the future but inflation may also mean that the council’s money does not go as far.

Coun Przyszlak said: “South Holland, in the medium term, will be OK. In the short term, until these new sources of money come forward and until Compass Point starts seriously, things will be tight.”

Minister Eric Pickles announced that councils would, on average, lose 4.4 per cent of their revenue spending power and that the worst hit would be cut to the tune of 8.9 per cent.

The figure takes into account the effect on the council’s overall spending – including its council tax and other income.

Boston was hit with the maximum 8.9 per cent cut whereas South Kesteven’s spending power will drop by 6.8 per cent.

The figures are also skewed by the fact that some council services will now change.

As well as bus passes, Lincolnshire County Council’s money will also have to stretch to social services matters previously paid for by the NHS. This week the county council found out it will have £26.7million trimmed from its grant, a cut of 11.2 per cent, with a further £16.1million cut in 2012/13.

Police in the county will also lose £3.6million.