Frankly, it’s the last thing the city needed.
As if the critical services that support the most vulnerable people in our society – young and old – haven’t been stretched enough.
Leeds City Council says it has been forced to revisit its budget plans after discovering it would receive £35m less in core funding from the Government in the next financial year.
It claims a growing demand for services, rising costs and a near £13m reduction in business rate collections have added to the need for savings.
And so the city faces an eye watering £76million in cuts. Coun Judith Blake, Leeds City Council leader, has warned that the city faces “another major challenge”. And that’s putting it mildly. Surely by now there’s little room for give. Our public services are stretched to breaking point. Care homes are closing, hospitals are faced with a bed-blocking nightmare because the agencies charged with looking after the patients are, themselves, cut to the bone.
It is, of course, those who have most need of public sector support: the sick and disabled; the elderly and the vulnerable who are likely to suffer most and it is incumbent on the local authority leaders to work together to make sure this does not happen. This isn’t about politics; it’s about people’s lives.