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Tory councils to cut spending on services

October 01 2009
Conservatives claim slashed budgets will not affect homeless services A number of Conservative councils in London are planning to cut spending on local public services, but claim it will not affect the quality of support given to the needy. "We have to get away from the idea spending more money leads to better services - we have proved that it doesn't," a spokesman for Hammersmith and Fulham council said. The west London council's total budget is £185.76m, but £61m - roughly a third - could be slashed from public spending by 2012. "It is now time for the rest of the public sector to wake up and smell the coffee and realise lower tax and better services - for example, services for homeless people - can be delivered simultaneously," the spokesperson added. "Over the past eight years, our services for homeless people have received national recognition, even winning a prestigious Andy Ludlow Award in 2007," he said. In 2005, the west London borough set up the Singles Homelessness Project to tackle the growing levels of single homelessness and rough sleeping in the council. This resulted in a reduction of the number of single homeless people in B&B accommodation from 125 in March 2005 to 73 in March 2007. The project's success was recognised by the Andy Ludlow Homelessness Awards, set up by the London councils. The current Conservative administration is reported to have cut funding to local homeless charities since 2007, with the sales of 12 homeless hostels. Meanwhile, Barnet Council, in north London, has also come up with a plan for a substantial reorganisation of public services. But the council has been unable to provide the budget or be more specific about which services face the axe. "We have had to deal with ever less money being available to provide services," a spokesperson said. "At the same time, it's becoming more expensive to provide services."