Austin Macauley 20 January 2016

Isle of Wight Council warns cuts are pushing it to the brink

Isle of Wight Council has warned the Government it may not ‘be viable in the very near future’ if planned budget cuts go ahead.

Chief executive John Metcalfe has written to the Department for Communities and Local Government asking it to clarify how it will assess whether a council ‘has reached the “tipping point” where it has insufficient resources available to meet its legal obligations’.

The council expects to have a budget gap of £32m over the next four years, which it warned would increase unless it can raise council tax by at least 3.75%.

It said the Government had assumed the council’s £46m reserves could be used to plug the shortfall. But the council warned £30.6m was already allocated ‘to meet known commitments in future years’ and £4.4m had been exhausted to support services.

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, leader of the council, said: ‘We have made considerable representations to Government about the plight of the island, and what we require from them in terms of support.

‘I hope they have listened and recognise the uniqueness of our situation, and that, following their consultation exercise, that they reassess their approach to our future financing.’

Visit The MJ (£) to find out why a legal challenge could be mounted against funding cutbacks.

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