Double tax whammy for Leeds families and 259 council jobs axed

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LEEDS families have been delivered a double tax whammy as the city tries to plug an £87m funding gap in 2016, hitting jobs and tax bills.

Laying out the proposals, leader of Leeds City Council Judith Blake today warned that “austerity is not over, another incredibly difficult year lies ahead”.

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A new report detailing the council’s financial position for next year warns of further cuts of £24m to Government core funding, leaving an overall funding gap of £87.2m for next year. It adds to the more than £180m already slashed from the city’s public purse, a drop of more than 40 per cent since 2010, and families have been told to expect a further 30 per cent fall by 2019/20.

The news comes in a year which has already seen Leeds’s public health funding reduced by £2.8m. Further cuts will mean an estimated reduction in health grant of £3.9m in 2016/17 and £25m less to spend on public health priorities in Leeds over the next five years.

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Coun Blake said: “These figures are worse than we feared and should make clear to everyone in Leeds that although in many ways the city is performing fantastically well, if anyone believes austerity is over it most definitely is not. We still face another incredibly difficult year in Leeds for public services, which will mean more very tough decisions to come.”

All areas of the council will be asked to make savings and efficiencies, although services for vulnerable young and older people will get the lion’s share – 64.1 per cent – of the total council budget for 2016/17.

The council is still awaiting more details from the Government before making a final recommendation on council tax, but in its statement last night, the authority said that “given the anticipated financial position it is proposed to rise by 1.99 per cent, plus the two per cent social care precept suggested by the Government”.

Proposals for 2016/17 will be finalised at the meeting of full council in February after discussion and consultation.

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