THE IMPACT of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review was being felt across the borough as the Solihull News went to press on Wednesday night.
With local authorities facing cuts of 7.1 per cent amid warnings of cuts to front line services nationwide, Solihull’s leaders were trying to come to terms with its meaning locally.
Leader of Solihull MBC, councillor Ian Hedley, was just going into a meeting with the council’s finance director to discuss the ramifications of Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement. However his coalition colleague, Labour’s Councillor David Jamieson, portfolio holder for transport, said the review was ‘bad news’ for Solihull.
He said: “I can see the announcement will particularly affect the poor and elderly in Solihull.
“Job losses will be felt throughout the area and by cutting the fuel tax rebate for bus companies, locals will see a substantial rise in bus fares over the next few years.”
However Leader of the opposition Conservative group, Coun Ken Meeson said the cuts were not as bad as expected.
“We will have to see what the effect will be in Solihull. It was a very challenging budget this year and we are working on it.
“Solihull’s grant (from central Government) is very small compared to other councils. A reduction in our grant won’t be quite as painful as large authorities like Birmingham and Coventry.
“I hope it will not affect front line services. We will do our best to protect them, but are looking to make efficiency savings.”