Council: “We were braced for cuts...they won’t affect frontline services”

The Boston Borough Council building.
The Boston Borough Council building.

Council bosses said they had prepared for Government cuts - and vowed they will not affect frontline services.

Boston Borough Council prepared for a £600,000 cut in Government funding for the next financial year and the Government’s reduction in ‘revenue spending power’ announced last week was £608,000.

Council leader Peter Bedford said: “It is what we expected to within a few thousand pounds. It could have been a lot worse if it hadn’t been for the increase in new homes being built within the borough. It’s going to be hard, but we will work with what we’ve been given and produce a balanced budget.

“There will be no increase in council tax. We gain the equivalent of a one per cent council tax increase from the Government by freezing council tax. If we increased council tax we would lose the one per cent, so this is the best way forward for the borough’s council tax payers and the council.

“There will be no cuts in frontline services.”

Coun Aaron Spencer, the council’s finance portfolio holder, said various percentage figures were being bandied about, which were dependent on what particular complicated funding equation was applied but the bottom line was that the borough council’s spending power had been reduced from £9.5m in the current financial year to £8.9m in the next – a reduction in cash terms of £600,000 as a result of less money being made available from central Government.

He said: “In an ideal world it’s not what anyone would wish for. In particular it is disappointing to see Boston hit as hard as anywhere in the country, which is in keeping with many rural councils. But we have been realistic and it’s what we’ve prepared for.”

Figures show that, in total, taking into account things not covered by revenue spending power, the borough’s reduction in funding is £813,376, a drop of 15.7 per cent.

East Lindsey District Council will see its revenue spending power fall 6.4 per cent. Coun Craig Leyland, deputy leader, said: “It is very disappointing. This just confirms the view that rural counties like East Lindsey are being absolutely hammered by cuts like this.”