Bucks leader warns government’s £9m cash boost won’t prevent services being cut as Labour blasts ‘Tory buy-off’

Greg Clark MP
Greg Clark MP

The leader of Bucks County Council has warned a £9m cash boost from the government is not enough to avoid drastic cutbacks to services.

The council is one of only two authorities which will not receive any government grant by 2018/19, leading to massive cuts to services as County Hall tries to break even.

However, this week the government said several councils will receive part of a £300m ‘transitional grant’ to soften the impact of the cuts, including £9m for Bucks.

Minister Greg Clark said this would ‘ease the pace of reductions during the most difficult first two years of the settlement for councils with the sharpest reductions in Revenue Support Grant’.

Bucks county council leader Martin Tett said: “It is important to realise that we have still got to make all of the savings required by Government by 2019/20.

“The £4.6 m in each of the next two years doesn’t enable us to permanently restore any planned cuts.

“It does however enable us to smooth out the reductions over the next two years and fund some one-off projects aimed at reducing costs in the longer term.”

Labour argue that 83% of the cash will go to Conservative councils in an attempt to ‘buy off’ Tory politicians.

Labour MP for Selly Oak Steve McCabe said: “It’s an outrage that while Birmingham is coping with the biggest cuts in our history the Government has decided to give millions of extra funding to wealthy areas like Buckinghamshire.”

A government spokesman said the long-term funding settlement ensured poorer areas received more funding, adding: “The transitional funding has gone to those councils facing the biggest fall in central government grant.”