Hastings hardest hit by cuts – report

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HASTINGS could be forced to weather even deeper public spending cuts than first feared according to a new report.

While Hastings Borough Council (HBC) was braced for a 28 per cent cut in its budget over the next four years, the new figures suggest the authority may actually be in line to lose between 30 and 38 per cent of its funding.

And to make matters worse, the report by the Local Government Chronicle suggests that some councils in England may actually be better off over the next few years, so while poorer areas like Hastings face the most savage cuts, wealthy areas such as Tunbridge Wells and West Oxfordshire will see funding rise.

Cllr Jeremy Birch, the leader of HBC, has written to Eric Pickles, the secretary of state for local government to express his dismay.

He said: “If the cuts were up to 38 per cent it would be very damaging for Hastings. There has to be some fairness - it would be totally unjust for a community like ours to take a substantially larger reduction than more affluent areas. It would hit local services, local jobs and local people. The Government says we are all in this together - but we are well and truly in it.”

But Amber Rudd MP said it wasn’t clear how the figures had been worked out. “I have spoken to one of the community ministers who says the figures are unthinkable. I think this is an inflammatory and unsubstantiated report. I am alert to fighting Hastings’ corner and the Government is well aware of the issues we have here.”