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KCC warns of MORE cuts and job losses

Kent County Council logo
Kent County Council logo

by political editor Paul Francis

Council leaders are warning of job losses and wide-ranging
cuts to services after the government announced how much grant
money they will get next year.

Kent County Council said it was facing the prospect of finding
£90m of savings next year despite ministers claiming that its
overall budget was to be cut by £18.5m or just 1.5 per cent.

Council leader Paul Carter said the settlement was worse than
expected but insisted that everything would be done to safeguard
vital services.

"It is going to be tough. To find £90m savings in real terms
next year is a big ask.

"We still have to deal with inflationary pressures and
increasing demand for services such as elderly care.

"It is going to be very demanding and it is worse than we
thought it would be."

But he added: "We have been expecting this for some time even
though it is more extreme than we thought.

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"But just because we have less money does not mean we cannot
innovate and do things differently in a way that minimises the

The authority has already warned it faces a £340m black hole
over the next four years and has estimated some 1,500 jobs will
have to go over that period.

Cllr Carter declined to comment on where the axe would fall when
it came to the authority’s detailed spending plans for 2011-12.
These will be set out early next year.

As part of its austerity drive, the government says councils
will face grant cuts on average of about 25 per cent between now
and 2014.

Figures released by the Department for Communities and Local
Government indicate a mixed picture for councils in Kent.

What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below
What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments below

Thanet and
Ashford councils will be worst affected, as both face an 8.9 per
cent cut in government grants. Shepway, Gravesham, Dover and Swale
face between 7 and 8 per cent cuts; Canterbury and Dartford will
lose 6.5 and 6.25 per cent respectively while Tonbridge and Malling
will lose 4.5 per cent and Tunbridge Wells 5.9 per cent.

Local government minister Eric Pickles said: ""There has been a
great deal of speculation and scaremongering about what the
implications of the local government settlement might be.

"The reality is that despite the toughest economic circumstances
in recent memory, the government will ensure that next year the
average reduction in councils’ spending power will be 4.4 per

Government grants account for the largest slice of money
available to councils.

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