Well yet another surprise in the postbag this week - not! Apparently the Government has increased funding to local councils as if money is going out of fashion. Well it seems to have passed Barnet by again! We have been told that we are on the 'floor' i.e. We will receive the absolute minimum increase in grant from central government - just 2% - again.

Our 2% will not even meet the national pay award (over which we have no choice), meet the costs of patients released early from hospital (over which we have no choice) and the costs of social services contracts (which are linked to Retail Price Index - currently over 4%). Oh ……but the other Councils in northern or midlands regions get much more e.g. Oldham is getting over 6% more. Also accordingl to one major daily paper Councils in those areas that have Cabinet Ministers as their Members of Parliament do much better than most –hmmmm.

So once again we will continue to look at new ways of delivering the same services to find cost savings. Barnet has for the past 5 years become the most cost effective council in London, spending just £39per head on 'back office costs' - the average for London is over £54 a head.

Most suburban councils in the south east are heavily subsidising the midlands, the north and Scotland. This Borough may be viewed by central government as a golden goose - but we are being systematically fleeced - we can't keep slicing costs - eventually - and soon- wholesale services will not be worth keeping and London's councils will be reduced to essential services only. 84% of the population live in the suburbs so it is odd that such a large an important block of the population is being so badly treated.