Our own council has already been very clear about their views of how the spending review will affect Ealing. The Council announced that Ealing would face having to make “savings” of £53 million at its cabinet meeting on 22nd June. This is a target that seeks to reduce by 25% the amount of funding the council needs from government – a sensible assumption. Savings can be “cuts” or price increases for charged services. If the Council could make these savings they could leave the council tax unchanged for the next three years. See the June cabinet paper here.
In their manifesto Labour promised:
Keeping your council tax low with a freeze in the first year.
After four years of Conservative rule Ealing residents know what low means. It means zero or the odd 1%. Not 3% or 5%.
Labour are clearly in a vice – a vice that was entirely to be expected and it is no use complaining that the manifesto was written without any foreknowledge that there would be hard times to come. It is worth noting that the deficit last year was £155 billion. In other words the Labour government borrowed £5,000 on behalf of each and every worker in the UK during the course of one year. That kind of death spiral had to be stopped.
During the course of the last four year Tory administration the Council achieved savings in the order of £60 million with pretty much no-one noticing significant changes to the services that they receive so it is not unreasonable to suppose that £53 million savings target will not be the end of the world however much the Labour council tries to blame the Coalition for its problems.