Council leader’s fury over funding announcement

Date published: 21 December 2012

OLDHAM Council leader Jim McMahon has blasted reduced Government funding — warning it could add another £7million to a previously-announced £31 million in council cuts.

Local government minister Eric Pickles yesterday announced he was slashing grants to local authorities - with Oldham reported to be facing a 7.4 per cent cut.

The Tory MP claimed the settlement represented a “bargain” for councils and urged them to make more savings by cutting pay, scrapping chief executive posts and ending councillor pensions.

But Oldham Council Leader Councillor Jim McMahon said: “This is the worst kind of Christmas present from the Government. The timing simply adds insult to injury.

”While we have yet to dissect the finer details, it’s still very clear that this is bad news for Oldham and looks like an additional £7million of cuts on top of the £31 million already announced.

“We’ve worked incredibly hard here to get our financial house in order. But having already found savings of more than £100 million in our budget over the last four years alone, there is simply no fat left to cut from our services.

“Like every local authority hit by this settlement we will have to consider cuts in areas that will impact on vital services and vulnerable residents.

“When added to the changes about to hit people via Welfare Reform next year, this is a double whammy that will hit the poorest members of our society the hardest.

“Some of the things Eric Pickles is saying show that he has absolutely no understanding of how local government works and what it does.

“His New Year resolution should be to consider the shocking effects that his decisions are having on decent and vulnerable families — and to consider his position.”