Gravesham council attacks Kent County Council budget

PUBLISHED: 11:06 18 October 2012

Gravesham council leader John Burden has hit out at County Hall’s “pie in the sky” budget.

He describes the budget as “a series of damaging cuts aimed at the poorest parts of the county”, which will “stretch the borough’s resources to try to paper over the cracks”.

“It’s a smoke and mirrors approach to local government finance but the harsh reality is it will hit the least well off and the vulnerable, especially the elderly, the young and the unemployed, at a time when they most need help,” he said.

Cllr Burden claims KCC has maintained council tax rates at the expense of funding to youth services, adult social care, emergency planning and community safety.

“Over and over again you see contributions from County Hall slashed, meaning boroughs have to pick up the tab in times when the government is squeezing us even more than county councils,” Mr Burden said.

KCC leader Paul Carter defended their budget on the grounds of the county council’s “successful track record over recent years in managing multi million pound budgets effectively.”

Cllr Carter said: “In this era of austerity, local government across the country has had to contend with substantially reduced government grant and deliver savings of 30 per cent over three years.

“In Kent, this means £300m out of a budget of £1bn, excluding education. Kent County Council has broadly delivered these highly challenging savings with minimal impact on the delivery of good quality front line services, in highways, social care, libraries, youth provision and waste disposal.

He continued: “The Leader of Gravesham Borough Council needs to face up to the reality of the challenges ahead.”

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