Hampshire County Council: “Journey to Bankruptcy”

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A LACK of funding means Hampshire County Council is on a “trip to bankruptcy”, councilors have warned.

The Tory-led authority has written to Hampshire MPs, urging them to support a call for more sustainable funding. Some 26 other authorities joined the departmental council to ask for better funding.

It comes as the council prepares to cut its budget by £ 80million by April 2023, slashing spending on transport, children’s services and more.

At today’s cabinet meeting in Winchester, the Conservatives will discuss the situation and how best to move forward.

But opposition Liberal Democrat economy, transport and environment spokesperson Cllr Martin Tod fears the situation will only get worse.

He said: “The current financial model is just not sustainable – we are basically on the verge of bankruptcy.

“The situation is dire and everyone is reducing to the basics what the board is responsible for.

“In the past, boards had their own money to do their own thing; now everything is done by tender to the central government, which does not guarantee anything.

“What this means is that the people who know the area best cannot make the decisions.”

Cllr Tod added that he agreed with the Tories in wanting a long-term financial deal with the government, as housing tax “is not the answer”.

The government has delayed the fair funding review, which has raised concerns among politicians.

The councils that jointly wrote to the government proposed a short-term spending “floor” that would at least give authorities an indication of the minimum amount of funding they would receive each year.

Hampshire Council Chief Keith Mans said: “For a long time, county councils like Hampshire have been given a short straw when it comes to central government funding, and with another delay in considering funding government fair, we are faced with another three-year funding. drought for the authorities at the bottom of the cash flow table.

“A more equitable funding formula is needed going forward, especially in the face of ever-increasing demands for social care and additional financial pressures from Covid-19.

“Clearly, a short-term solution is not ideal, but it would provide much-needed funding that would allow the system to run a little longer.

“Without additional financial support, authorities with weak purchasing power will find it increasingly difficult to provide essential and valuable services to their local communities.”



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