BUDGET: Fears that a quarter of Boston’s population is “unaccounted for”

UP TO a quarter of people living in Boston may be unaccounted for in national figures leaving the borough seriously short changed by the Government, according to top councillors.

COUNCIL bosses are braced for ‘tough times’ as severe cuts in the Government cash coming to Boston could get even harsher.

The authority’s budget has now gone out to public consultation, as it looks to address a 31.9 per cent drop in Government cash between 2010/11 and 2014/15.

This year alone the Government grant dropped £0.8 million from £6.1 million to £5.3 million.

The funding gap was plugged through cost saving steps including £279,000 from staff costs, £101,000 from a joint planning framework, and £100,000 each from revenues and benefits and leisure..

At last week’s cabinet meeting Coun Raymond Singleton-McGuire, finance portfolio holder, warned possible further Government cuts could reduce the amount the council receives in 2014/15 to £4.6 million.

The council was one of the worst hit last year and although a council tax freeze grant has been available the deputy joint leader pointed out that when this ends it will be difficult to make up the lost ground.

Coun Singleton-McGuire added: “That said, this proposed budget ensures services will continue to be delivered to a high standard and concurrently it provides financial resilience going forward.”

Chief executive Richard Harbord said chancellor George Osborne hinted last week at more cuts to come. He said: “Although he didn’t give any figures, it looks as if local authorities will be subject to similar sorts of cuts over the next Comrephensive Spending Review as they are in this.”

As we revealed last week the savings to be made including putting up car park fees.

The price hike includes a 10p rise across all tariffs, introducing £1 evening charges, ditching most 60p 30 minute charges, increasing coach parking to £3 a day and making the cheapest all day car park £2.50.