Peterborough MP Lisa Forbes slams ‘vicious’ council cuts which will see city ‘suffer’

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The MP for Peterborough has slammed “vicious” council cuts which she claims will see the city “suffer”.

Lisa Forbes was responding to budget proposals released by the city council on Friday to help tackle its £33 million deficit.

Lisa Forbes

Lisa Forbes

So far savings of £24 million have been identified, leaving another £9 million to find in the new year.

The Conservative-run council has lost 80 per cent of its government grant since 2010 and said it is having to roll back services it does not need to provide by law.

This includes large cuts to charities supporting the disabled, elderly and adults in poverty, as well as cuts to care support, youth funding, the end of a £50,000 winter heating grant for the most vulnerable, the loss of a support service for the isolated and the removal of hearing screenings for children starting school.

The council is also planning to make 75 redundancies, while a similar number of staff working for the authority, but under contract with partner Serco, could also lose their jobs due to cutbacks.

Residents are also facing a four per cent council tax hike.

Labour MP Ms Forbes said: “These are vicious cuts that will impact our city massively and disproportionately impact some of the most vulnerable people in Peterborough. Even though demand for services has increased massively, since 2013 Peterborough City Council’s funding from government has been cut by over 80 per cent.

“The Peterborough Community Assistance Scheme, which helps those who are suffering from financial hardship, is being cut to the bone. Our already underfunded youth services and NHS are going to be subject to even more austerity when we should be expanding them, not cutting them back.

“Winter heating grants for the elderly gone. Hearing screenings for children starting school gone. And despite fly-tipping being such a huge issue in our city, services are being cut back so that clean-up times will be much longer.

“Despite what the Government says, austerity is not over. Council services are being stripped back in pursuit of cutting costs and our city is going to suffer for it. The most insulting bit is that the Chancellor has now cancelled his Budget. While he is playing political games, cities like Peterborough are being subject to more callous cuts.

“I appreciate that the leader of Peterborough City Council, John Holdich, has reached out to try and arrange a call to discuss these proposals. This was when Parliament was voting, but I hope to speak with him about the budget in the immediate future, as I fear that the devolved austerity that has been forced upon PCC by their own party in government will hit the poorest and those in need the hardest.”

Residents can have their say on the budget proposals either at www.peterborough.gov.uk/budget, or by picking up a hard copy of the budget from the Town Hall in Bridge Street or at any city library from Monday.

A series of articles on the budget proposals will be published online at https://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/politics over the weekend.

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