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‘Brexit mess is delaying vital public service funding’ Tower Hamlets mayor says

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:24 17 December 2018

Mayor John Biggs...

Mayor John Biggs... "The cuts have a serious impact on households and delaying funding piles on the pressure." Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

A vital announcement has been shelved about more spending cuts that local authorities like Tower Hamlets Council are facing in the New Year because of what the mayor calls “the government’s Brexit mess”.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire was to have given details of the annual finance settlement.

But the government cancelled the statement and told local authorities they would not be told about their budget cuts until after the Commons vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister, who now faces a leadership challenge, cancelled yesterday’s vote on her Brussels deal in the face of a predicted overwhelming defeat.

But there has still been no word from Whitehall on the provisional settlement that town halls need to plan ahead.

“We’re calling on the government to recognise that council budgets cannot be easy targets for cuts,” Mayor John Biggs said.

“The cuts we face have a serious impact on households and delaying the funding announcement only piles on the pressure.

“The delay is evidence that the day-to-day impact of Brexit is not hypothetical—it’s real and it matters.”

Critics claim the government is “trapped in a crisis of its own making over the botched Brexit negotiations” and are worried that it is “neglecting the needs of the country”.

Money for public services was now running out fast, according to the Local Government Association.

Tower Hamlets has been hit by £148m cuts to public services since 2010, a 64 per cent loss. A further £44m is having to be axed from its budget in the next three years, it is predicted. The gaps include frontline services like care for the elderly and tackling homelessness.

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