Fears austerity is being ‘pushed too far’ after Suffolk County Council underspend

Suffolk County Council achieved an underspend of more than �3.5 million last year
Suffolk County Council achieved an underspend of more than �3.5 million last year
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County council leaders have been accused of ‘pushing austerity too far’ following an underspend of more than £3.5 million last year.

The Conservative controlled Suffolk County Council made about £26.19 million in budget cuts for 2012/13 with further savings of £3.8 million including the Dedicated Schools Grant.

The underspend has led Cllr Mark Ereira-Guyer, leader of the Green and Independent Group, to question whether services are being cut more than is necessary.

He said: “I just find it pushing austerity too far. Are we cutting services a great deal more than we have to and over and above what the Government’s asking us to do?”

Cllr Colin Noble, cabinet member for finance and property, said the figures show the council is ‘fiscally very competent’.

He said the money will go into reserves to be spent on initiatives such as Raising the Bar and the Endeavour travel card.

Cllr Noble noted that over the next four years they will have to make £156 million in savings.

He said: “We’re going to work with our partners and the voluntary sector and sit down with communities to understand what they need and design the services.”