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Cash strapped councils could deprioritise recycling services

Concerns about local authority funding for recycling services have been raised in parliament as the 2010/11 local government finance settlement was discussed this week.

During a debate MP David Curry said the costs of subsidised transport for elderly people would put pressure on councils to recoup the money from others services.

Some councils face costs of literally millions of pounds this financial year, and more in the next financial year, over and above the value of the [Government] grant [to pay for free transport].
As they cannot recoup that money from the council tax, their only chance of recouping it will be through cutting other services, including precious things like recycling.

However, Department for Communities and Local Government Minister John Healey said he was still confident there was plenty of extra money from the Government in the system to support the services.

He said: I recognise that [the settlement] is tight, but it is fair and affordable, and it continues our increasing investment in council services. To help, during these tough economic times, our settlement maintains the certainty, flexibility and equity that local government says it wants from central Government.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said that councils would struggle to keep council tax down because central government funding has failed to keep pace with extra demands placed on councils. This was despite new Government rules on Icelandic investments that would provide them with much needed breathing space. The LGA also said there would be difficult times ahead for councils looking for further efficiency savings.

LGA chairwoman Margaret Eaton said: These are tough times for everyone and town halls will be relieved that last year's tight settlement has not been cut back any further.

The money allocated to local government is simply not enough to provide everything ministers have promised and meet the extra cost of looking after an ageing population.

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