Southwark Council’s central government funding has been slashed by more than a quarter in the last decade of austerity – and has seen the fifth highest reduction in spending power per household.
According to data obtained by the Labour Party, Southwark’s funding from central government will have been slashed by £1,07,017,590 between 2010 and 2020 – a 27 per cent cut.
This equates to losing £1,065.16 spending power per household within the same period –the fifth biggest per household cut of any council in the UK.
Shockingly, Labour-run councils in the poorest areas are most affected by austerity, with falls in funding of 28 per cent on average, compared to 20 per cent for their Tory counterparts.
That means whereas Conservative councils can expect to see their spending per household reduced by around £128, in Labour-run councils this figure can be up to four times higher.
The data will put pressure on the government to produce sweeteners in the upcoming October budget, on the 29th.
Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle told the News on Tuesday it was time for the government to reverse the trends, saying that ‘ideological resistance’ was failing to deliver for voters: “We have had eight years of cuts to the council, directly impacting our community and every section of public services, including schools, hospitals, and police. This is the budget which should change that.”
At the Conservative Party Conference last week Theresa May made the bold claim that austerity was ending. But there seems to be no end of tightening its belt in sight for Southwark, which is facing extra pressures caused by austerity, including changes in Universal Credit, a rise in rough sleepers, people struggling to access mental health and addiction support, and stretched policing and education resources. Quite simply, the council is being asked to do more with less.
Cllr Peter John, Southwark Council leader, said: “The Tories and Lib Dems in Government have spent the last eight years slashing money for local services and brought councils up and down the country to their knees.
“They have particularly targeted Labour-run boroughs like Southwark, which means that by 2020 we’ll have over £1000 less to spend per household on vital local services.
“Despite this, we have worked hard to protect the services that matter most: we’ve kept our libraries open, made more than 97% of council homes warm, dry and safe, and introduced free swim and gym for everyone in Southwark.
“We’re ambitious for Southwark’s future and are delivering a fairer future for all even though the Government are making it harder and harder.
“At Conservative Party Conference this year Theresa May promised an end to austerity – now we need her to put her words into practice and see whether she really means this for boroughs like Southwark.”