Eric Pickles has announced details of the cuts in central Government grants to Town Halls this year. The revenue grant cut is £450 million – or 0.7% in total. With cuts of capital spending the total will be £1.166 billion. (So far as I can understand the tables.) What will help Town Halls is that a lot of grant that is being paid (o a billion pound's worth) will cease to be ring fenced. So for instance the £94 million for the Think Family grant will not have to go on pilot/pathfinder/partnership rubbish but might instead (conceivably) be spent on something useful. Spending transparency and reduced Whitehall admin requirements should also help local Councils cope with what are (so far) very modest savings.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says:

"The nation's deficit is running at £156bn. Reducing that deficit, putting the finances back on a stable footing and continuing to ensure economic recovery is the most urgent issue facing Britain. Tough fiscal times will be challenging for all, but the reductions have been made to reflect the Government's policy of decentralisation and a scaling back of the quango state.

"The detailed spending decisions outlined today show a clear determination to make the necessary savings whilst minimising the impact on essential frontline services like rubbish collections and
protecting spending on schools and Sure Start. We have focused attention on reducing the centre and it is here that the reductions are the hardest.

"Steps have been taken to limit the impact on local authorities and make savings proportionally. Councils have been given the flexibility they need to determine where they make savings. We are clear that no extra burden must fall on local taxpayers. We are committed to freezing council tax in England for at least one year, and seek to freeze it for a further year, in partnership with local authorities."

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