Government cuts are strangling local authorities, says UNISON

by - 1st February 2013, 7.45 BST

unison-logo3The government has tied the hands of local authorities, and is forcing in council tax increases that will hit the poorest hardest, UNISON warned today.

Adding its voice to the growing outcry against the government’s cut to council tax benefit, the union warned that councils would be placed under unmanageable pressure to provide even basic services if budgets continue to be cut.

When council tax benefit becomes council tax support in April, local authorities will have 10% less in their budgets due to government cuts. The union said this meant low-income households would bear the brunt as local authorities struggled to fund services across the board.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “We have warned since this government began its slash and burn attack on our public services that local authorities will only be able to take so much cutting.

“The government has passed the responsibility and the blame for this increase in council tax squarely on the shoulders of local authorities, but it is their attacks on benefits and massive budget cuts that are at fault.

“Local authorities are struggling to provide basic services while libraries, elderly care centres, swimming pools and nurseries close down.

“The governments cuts agenda is strangling local authorities, stifling growth and keeping the poorest in our society in a downward spiral towards poverty.”