'Significant' red lines will be crossed if cuts continue

Reporter:

Owen Evans

‘Significant’ red lines will have to be crossed if the austerity programme continues at a pace, a council leader has warned.

Aaron Shotton, leader of Flintshire Council, expressed hope that Chancellor Philip Hammond would heed calls that ‘enough is enough’ when it comes to budget cuts.

The call was made during a meeting of the council’s cabinet yesterday, where members approved an update of the authority’s medium term financial plan, which estimated a financial black hole of £11.7million for the forthcoming year.

“We are waiting to see what will be in the draft budget statement by the Welsh Government in October but it will be influenced by Chancellor Philip Hammond as he approaches the dispatch box in December.

“The concern is there are a significant amount of cuts that are still in the system and the effects if these cuts are continued.

“We have continued our calls in saying enough is enough and we will not be able to set a balanced budget without taking some unpalatable decisions.”

He added that he was hopeful
Mr Hammond would change the UK Government’s approach.

Cllr Shotton said: “It is important to note there is a lot of uncertainty and that will rest on the shoulders of the chancellor and we hope some admissions that people have had enough of austerity bears through and is not just rhetoric.”

He said the council was planning for the idea that they would be given a ‘flat cash settlement’, with the idea that any additional money would be a bonus.

He added: “If it is any worse it will mean significant red lines for us.”

Cllr Carolyn Thomas, cabinet member for Streetscene and countryside, added that she found the situation ‘frustrating’.

She said: “It is really frustrating where legislation has been passed and cuts are being made and I sometimes think do they really know what we are trying to achieve?

“We are doing the best we can with little money and it is really frustrating.”

Email:

owen.evans@nwn.co.uk

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