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Suffolk: Councils prepare to learn their fate after Autumn Statement

PUBLISHED: 06:00 06 December 2012

Jane Storey

Jane Storey

Archant

WHILE the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement gave the context in which finance decisions will be taken, local authorities have another two weeks to wait before hearing their financial fate.

Councils are expected to hear how much the government will give them on December 18 or 19 – giving their finance officers a busy time during the days leading up to Christmas.

Budgets are currently being prepared for the 2013/14 financial year – and one thing authorities can be confident of is that there will be no change in government funding next year.

Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that central government’s grants to councils would be unchanged next year – but that there would be a cut of £445 million the following year.

Suffolk County Council’s deputy leader Jane Storey is responsible for the authority’s budget, and said there were few surprises in the statement so far as the county was concerned.

She said: “We are really waiting until we receive the details of the council’s funding settlement on the 18th or 19th – we hope we may know enough to give a view at the full council meeting on the 20th.

“We are pretty sure what the situation will be for next year – but the following year we are looking at a further 2% cut on top of what we are already planning for and that could be quite a challenge.”

During his statement, Mr Osborne praised the Department for Communities and Local Government for cutting its budget.

Mrs Storey said this should be a spur to other departments to cut harder to ease the pressure on local government.

And she said her personal view was that the decision to maintain the overseas aid budget at its current level was wrong.

“Personally I don’t feel it is right to maintain that while departments serving people in this country are facing some quite major cutbacks,” she said.

Ipswich council’s Labour leader David Ellesmere said his authority was reasonably confident it would be able to cope with next year’s settlement, but it had real concerns after that.

He said: “The message from this really was pretty grim – there is no growth which is what the country needs.

“We will know the details later, but while things should be okay next year, the following years are looking pretty grim if the government doesn’t change its policies.”

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A 333 mile journey home for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation finished on Saturday when the Hike4Hopey charity walkers arrived at St James’ Park, Newcastle.

Seven suspected Ukrainian illegal immigrants have been arrested after their yacht ran aground on the Suffolk coast today.

Several people were stuck for reportedly more than an hour on a ride at the Cymbeline Meadow fair, Colchester.

Family of a Suffolk man who died from a brain tumour have attended a ceremony to open a Quiet Room in his memory at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

A spring cleaning campaign across west Suffolk has seen volunteers litter pick and remove more than 460 bags of waste from public open spaces.

Firefighters tackled a “needless” blaze at the former Manganese Bronze plant in Ipswich on Sunday night.

The fire in the top floor of the two-storey derelict building, behind houses on Hadleigh Road, was caused by trespassers.
 The fire was reported at around 5.30pm on April 30 and six crews, including an aerial appliance, were expected to battle the blaze for several hours last night.
 Station Commander Jon Southgate, of Princes Street station, said the fire was caused by someone deliberately or accidentally setting the fire.
 “There are numerous discarded needles around the site and from experience we know there will be needles inside as well,” he said. “We will not be entering the building because I want to ensure the safety of our firefighters. 
 “It is a shame that we are now going to have four crews fighting a completely needless and preventable fire.”

It may have been a forgettable season finish for Blues fans at Portman Road on Saturday – but one moment of magic should cheer even the most desolate of supporters.

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