Councils across the West Midlands are bracing themselves for another round of funding cuts as the Government announced they would lose £110 million in 2015.

It comes on top of cuts of £120 million due to come into effect next year.

The latest round of cuts will hit services across the region and mean local authorities have little choice but to continue with controversial reductions in services.

And figures published by the Department for Communities and Local Government confirmed that many councils in the Midlands will be hit much harder than those in other parts of the country.

For example, council funding will fall by £147.15 per dwelling in Birmingham in the 2015-16 financial year - while funding in Windsor and Maidenhead in the south east, home of Windsor Castle and Eton school, actually goes up by £42 per household.

Birmingham council leader Sir Albert Bore condemned the announcement, saying: “Put simply, the less well-off areas with the greatest needs, such as large regional cities, are seeing spending slashed whilst richer areas in the South East will see increases in funding next year.”

The Government announced provisional funding allocations for 2015-16. They are subject to change before they are confirmed next year, but have been published to give councils the chance to plan ahead.

At the same time, Ministers confirmed previously-published allocations for 2014-15.

The sums show council “spending power”, which brings together a range of funds including the main central government grant, council tax, dedicated funding to pay for social care provided by councils and the NHS, and an “Efficiency Support Grant” to help authorities cope with the cuts.

In 2015-16, Birmingham will lose £63.2 million compared to the year previously. Coventry will lose £11.18 million, Dudley will lose £6.8 million, Sandwell will lose £16 million, Solihull will lose £488,000, Walsall will lose £10.1 million and Wolverhampton will lose £13.5 million.

Herefordshire loses £1.2 million, Shropshire loses £946,000, Telford and the Wrekin loses £3.8 million,

Staffordshire will actually gain, by £3.1 million, while Warwickshire gains £4.6 million and Worcestershire gains £3.4 million.

The total cut in funding across England is 2 per cent. But many West Midland councils lose more - for example, spending power in Birmingham will fall by 5.6 per cent and in Sandwell it will fall by 5 per cent.

Across England as a whole, the average cut per dwelling is £45.18.

But in Walsall it is £90 and in Wolverhampton it is £122.

And spending power per dwelling will actually increase by £55 in Wokingham, in the wealthy South East, and £51 in Surrey,

However, while parts of he West Midlands suffered bigger cuts than some other parts of the country, they continued to have higher funding.

Spending power per dwelling in Birmingham in 2015-16 will be £2,459 compared to £2,183 in England as a whole. In wealthy Windsor and Maidenhead it will be £1,581.

Eric Pickles
Eric Pickles
 

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said the announcement offered “a fair deal for councils and fair bills for taxpayers”.

And he insisted councils could do more to save money, for example by sharing back office functions such as finance departments.

He said: “Every bit of the public sector needs to do their bit to pay off the budget deficit, including local government which accounts for a quarter of all public spending.

“This year, councils should continue to focus on cutting waste and making sensible savings to protect frontline services and keep council tax down. Extra funding is on offer to councils to freeze council tax for a fourth year in a row.”

But Birmingham City Council Leader Sir Albert Bore issued a furious response, saying: “Today’s provisional financial settlement confirms our worst fears about the financial crisis that is hitting Birmingham City Council and the city.

Sir Albert Bore
Sir Albert Bore
 

“It shows that we face even more, big cuts in 2015-16 following the £120m reduction we are consulting on for 2014-15.

“But what is even clearer from today’s figures is the staggering unfairness with which cuts are being distributed around the country.”

Taking the main government grant to councils in isolation, known as the “start up grant”, funding for Birmingham will fall by £103.463 million in 2015-16, down by 14.6 per cent.

Meanwhile Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, highlighted new funding to pay for free childcare for two year olds and free school meals for all infants.

In the West Midlands, nearly £92 million will be available to increase the number of children who will have access to high quality free childcare from over 8,500 to over 15,000.

Mr Clegg said: “I want to give children the best possible start in life to get them ready to learn, progress, and aim high. That’s why we’re investing in early education for children in the West Midlands to give them the chance to start school on an equal footing with their peers.

“Next year the number of two year olds who receive free childcare will almost double giving around 35,100 children in the West Midlands access to high quality childcare.”