New government figures reveal the true extent of how Cheshire East’s budget has been squeezed by the Government.
According to government figures, Cheshire East is £11m worse off than it was when the Conservative Party came to power in 2010, with this year’s budget set at £266.8m, down from £278.1m in 2010/11.
However, council tax has risen to 5.99 per cent, which means £205.1m of the £266.8m budget will come from tax payers, compared to £176.6m of the £278.1m in 2010/11.
If you take council tax out of the equation, Cheshire East Council would have just £61.7m to spend this year, down from £101.5m in 2010/11.
Janet Jackson, councillor for Macclesfield Central, says tax payers should not be left to pick up the slack.
She said: “It is certainly no surprise to me because central government is reducing its grants and expecting local councils to find their own funds.
“Now you are getting to the point where services are being cut. We are seeing children’s services cut with the centres and there was until recently plans to close the libraries but maybe they will be back on the agenda next year and closed then.”
She added: “And it is definitely going to get worse, because the Conservative government is removing funding councils have received and aims to remove it all together and for local councils to have to stand on their own to fund services.”
Coun Laura Jeuda, who represents Macclesfield South, says voluntary services will be among the worst affected.
She said: “Those of us who have worked alongside volunteers know it costs money and time for adequate training, supervision and support for volunteers. They are not and need money, time and support.”
But Chris Andrew, Conservative councillor for Macclesfield South, said government funding has enabled five years of a council tax freeze.
He said: “In the last five out of seven years we have had grants from central government which had meant we have not had to increase council tax. However, this has been cut, which has meant the council has had to make savings elsewhere and we are trying our best to balance it as best we can.”
Cheshire East Council declined to comment.