Disappointment as Rutland County Council’s funding is cut by 2.1 per cent

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A council leader has criticised funding cuts proposed by the Government, saying rural areas such as Rutland will be the hardest hit.

Rutland County Council leader Roger Begy (Con) spoke out after it was revealed that the council will lose about 2.1 per cent of its Government funding in 2013/2014.

Coun Begy is chairman of a coalition called Sparsity Partnership for Authorities Delivering Rural Services, known as Sparse, which has been working alongside Government ministers to talk about the issues affecting rural areas.

He said the funding settlement, which was announced before Christmas, came as a “shock”.

Coun Begy said: “We were extremely surprised and disappointed with the way they had treated the whole issue of operating in a rural area.

“We have been working with the Government over the last year to try to persuade them of our issues.

“It does cost more to collect a bin from a village like Teigh than it does from a row of terraced houses in Leicester.

“They recognised that and came up with some valuations on what that would mean.

“We got less than that and then we weren’t happy. ”

Coun Begy said the county council had faced a “massive cut” but said the money was still worth having.

And he said the council had been preparing for such a significant cut to its funding.

He added: “It is what we thought it would be but we were hoping that it would be less.

“We have always assumed we were going to get a cut while we were working hard not to get one.”

Coun Begy said Sparse would meet with Government ministers to discuss the best way forward.

The cabinet will also meet on Tuesday for the first time since the announcement and will look at the budget.

Coun Begy said the council would continue to look at where savings could be made.

A report ahead of this week’s cabinet meeting suggests where achievable savings could be made in the next financial year, which includes measures such as introducing pool cars to reduce mileage claims, charging for tourism signs and axing a drug and alcohol programme for young people which is not well used.