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Government ‘should be ashamed of itself’ – Halton Council leader

The leader of Halton Council says the Government “should be ashamed of itself” after announcing £22m of budget cuts across services in Widnes and Runcorn.

This follows the loss to the authority of £63m of central Government funding – 61% of its income.

This year Halton bridged a funding shortfall of £5.6m and next year it will be £13.2m on top of a further £3.2m in 2020/21.

Halton’s income is dependent of a council tax rise of 2% in addition to a social care precept of 3%.

Quoted in the Runcorn and Widnes World, council leader Cllr Rob Polhill said: “Our priority is always to protect the most vulnerable people in our community and we will continue to do this.

“But with the ageing population and more children coming into care this is becoming a crisis.

“This is not a problem of our making. Councils across the country are facing the same problem.

“What upsets me is that many of our elderly residents fought for this country and the country is now letting them down. The Government should be ashamed of itself.”

Meanwhile, local authority job vacancies have been frozen to save money and £100,000 has been cut from the council’s building maintenance budget.

School dinners are being increased by 10 pence and the booking fee at The Brindley theatre is doubling from £1 to £2.

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