The Government has bailed out Conservative-run Hillingdon Council by giving them £25m to tackle the huge deficit that has been threatening the Council with bankruptcy.
As reported by Hillingdon Labour over the past few months, the Council were forced to approach the Government for a financial bailout due to the Council being on the brink of bankruptcy if they did not get their deficit under control. It has now been confirmed that the Government are giving Hillingdon Council a partial pay out of £25m – not even close to the £38m deficit that has accrued over the years.
The deficit primarily arose due to failure of the Hillingdon Conservatives who run the Council to focus on the lack of available special school places in the area.
Although bankruptcy of the Council has been avoided, it is at the cost of £20m contributions from the Council. That is £200 for each Hillingdon household. This forces the Council to borrow more money, with higher repayments.
Labour Group Lead on Finance, Cllr Tony Eginton, stated,
“Although we are thankful that the Safety Valve Agreement has been obtained, the fact is that this will affect our residents by additional costs on the £20m which the Council has been forced to offer.
“Had the Conservative administration signed up to the Safety Valve agreements in 2021, we believe that this additional burden on council taxpayers would have been avoided.
“All of those agreements included grants to cover the full amount of the Schools’ Budget deficits. Therefore, because of the one year delay by the Conservatives, every one of our households are stuck with the extra £200 cost to be settled in the future”.
Also speaking on the announcement, Labour’s Education Lead Cllr Kerri Prince said:
“For months, the Hillingdon Conservatives have been accusing Labour of scaremongering. But they cannot hide the fact that the Government has bailed out the Council by giving them £25m to tackle the growing deficit in the schools budget.
“The Council has avoided bankruptcy for now, but it’s clear that Cllr Ian Edwards cannot be trusted to get this situation under control. And it is Hillingdon residents paying the price.”
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