I was surprised to be asked by the media recently about an Observer article suggesting local Council money had been cut by 40% under the Coalition government. I want to reassure all my local readers that nothing like this has happened to Wokingham, and I would be surprised to see any Council in England now receiving 40% less cash than in 2010.
Wokingham receives substantial funds for its schools, where this government has increased the amounts each year. It receives various help with its capital programme. The Housing account is self financing.
Councillors tend to concentrate on General Fund expenditure, where they have authority over the mixture of local revenues and national grant that pay for their discretionary services. The General Fund budgets have shown the following pattern in recent years:
2009-10 (last Labour year) £116m
That is a rise of 11.2% over the 4 years. So the position is the Council has had to be careful and has had to find money for new priorities and for growth from within tight settlements.
The overall annual budgets are over £300 million when you add in schools and housing. Education and Childrens services in 2013-14 was £168m and housing £34 million of spending.