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Council leader's fury over Government cuts
COUNCIL leader Phil Davies has reacted with fury over government measures which hit Wirral with local authority cuts greater than at any comparable authority in the country.
Figures released by the Special Interest Group of Metropolitan Authorities – representing authorities outside London – indicate that cash-starved Wirral’s spending power has been reduced by 2.62% - more than anywhere else.
This represents a reduction of £151 per resident.
In comparison cuts imposed on north Devon amount to just £2 per resident.
Cllr Davies confessed to being mystified by the government decision.
He said: "I have seen the league table produced by SIGOMA and it is very clear that we have the highest cut out of more than 40 local authorities.
This is extremely unfair and it vindicates our belief that we have been badly treated.
"We have been banging on about this for a while. We accept cuts have to be made, but it is the lack of fairness we object to – it is so blatantly political.
"If you look at a map of the country you see that Tory-led authorities have come off fairly lightly. But northern authorities which suffer the highest deprivation have suffered most.
"It is scandalous the way that political bias has been used in this way. The larger northern metropolitan authorities are being clobbered compared to Conservative-controlled southern councils."
Other regional local authorities which have seen a drop in spending power include Warrington with a a decrease of 2.15%, Knowsley at 1.86% and Liverpool at 1.84%.
Cllr Davies recently led an all-party delegation to spell out Wirral’s budget challenge to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Nick Boles.
Council leaders are hoping the government will extend council borrowing powers to help ease the economic squeeze.
Wirral Council is facing a huge £109m budget gap over the next three years.
Crunch decisions will have to be made within the coming weeks on where the axe will fall.