Berkshire

Slough hit hardest in Berkshire council spending cuts

Slough faces the deepest budget cuts of Berkshire's six councils after the government revealed provisional details of its English council grants.

Slough Borough Council will have 4.86% less to spend on services in 2011/2012.

Wokingham Borough Council will have to make savings of 0.63% by comparison and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead 1.06%.

Leader of Slough's Labour-run council Rob Anderson said the borough's cuts were politically motivated.

'Back to the future'

"Clearly, the way it's been structured is it's taking us 'back to the future' of the 1980s.

"The level of funding the government's putting into places is now determined on political control rather than the actual needs of a population."

Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham councils are all under Conservative control.

He said Labour-run Reading and Slough had previously been better funded than other Berkshire councils under the last Labour government only because of the needs of the people.

The government said cuts to council spending reflected "the urgent need for the public sector to help put the country's finances back in order, keep interest rates down and prevent national debt escalating to £1.4tn of taxpayers' money".

"Ministers have taken a progressive and fair approach to calculating how the £29bn of central taxpayer funding for local government grants this year will be allocated.

"More money is being channelled at those areas of the country that have the highest levels of need."

For example, funding per head for residents in Hackney, London, in 2011/12 will be £1,043, compared with £125 per head in Wokingham, the government said.

The coalition said the "formula grant" from Whitehall for English councils would be reduced by 9.9% in 2011/2012 and by 7.3% in 2012/2013.

The cuts are part of a policy to cut central funding to local authorities by 28% over four years.

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