FUNDING for Harrow Council from central government is 'the harshest grant settlement in memory', the council's leader has warned.
Public services in Harrow will be hit with a £3.7million cut in the next financial year, as announced in the government's council funding budget on December 14.
Councillor Bill Stephenson (pictured) (Labour), council leader, said: "The announcement was a grim confirmation of the harshest grant settlement in memory.
"It was very disappointing just how long the government took to announce these cuts, making it difficult to get down to making decisions about next year's budget.
"The way the cuts have been presented is also poor, with NHS funding and terms like 'revenue spending power' thrown in to blur the picture, trying to make them seem less severe than they are."
However, the cut in the money going to Harrow Council next year is the 23rd least severe of all 359 of the UK's district, borough, county, and fire authorities, according to the Department of Communities and Local Government.
The borough will see a decrease of 1.9 per cent to £70.1m, compared with the average fall of 4.4 per cent.
In addition, the Labour-led administration will receive Home Office cash to fund the Metropolitan Police, £17.4m in grants for specific uses, and £2.6m of NHS funding for social care.
Councils that freeze council tax will get a 2.5 per cent bonus from the government. Leader of the Conservative opposition
Councillor Susan Hall said: "While the council will have to make some difficult decisions, in the grand scheme of things Harrow has actually done very well compared with many other boroughs and counties.
"In fact, a council briefing note I received said that the 'position is approximately £1m better than we were predicting for the December cabinet meeting'.
"I'm delighted that Labour have followed our administration's example in deciding to freeze council tax for the year ahead. The money allowing Labour to do this is coming from a £2.5m grant from the government."