Leicester set for worst funding crisis ever

By Jayden Whitworth

Leicester is facing the worst funding crisis the city has ever experienced, with the chancellor not announcing any support in his Autumn Statement last week.

The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, is under increasing pressure to intervene and help people, businesses, and local councils, as the cost-of-living crisis rumbles on.

The Autumn Statement was announced on Thursday, November 17, with the chancellor pledging to ‘tackle the cost-of-living crisis’ and ‘rebuild the UK economy.’

In his statement, Jeremy Hunt announced that the national living wage for over-23s will be increased from £9.50 to £10.42 an hour from April next year. 

There was also more support for households on means-tested benefits, who will get £900 support payments next year.

But with no financial support for local councils, there has to be huge cuts to keep basic services going.

Leicester City Council will announce and set their budget for 2023 on February 22, 2023.

Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “Like other councils across the country we expect to be facing even greater budget pressures over the next few years, and the Chancellor said nothing yesterday (NOV 17) that will change this.

“At our current level of spending we will be short of up to £50m a year by 2024 and are having to make huge cuts just to keep basic services going. 

“This is on top of the £90m of savings we have already had to make to services other than social care.

“This will put at risk the services people value – including our parks, museums, street cleaning services, and leisure centres. After yesterday’s statement, the bad news is that the years to come look like being even worse.”

With Christmas edging closer, some households are gearing up for a smaller Christmas this year, with the cost-of-living crisis forcing them to limit spending over the festive period.

Tracy Walker, mum of three, who lives in Thurmaston, said: “This year’s Christmas is going to be very different to previous years.

“We are going to have to strip it back a bit, with the kids not getting as many things.

“They would usually get a laptop or an XBOX, but this year that isn’t going to be possible, I don’t think.”