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Skint councils: Buses face chop as parks grow wild

Bussy day:
chats to a
before his
trip to
yesterday PICTURE: PA

BUS services are under threat from a severe funding shortage that could see fly-tipping go unpunished and parks turn into unkempt jungles, town hall chiefs have warned.

Museums and school crossing patrols are also in the sights of officials forced to focus on cutting services they are not obliged to provide by law, the Local Government Assocation said.

It warned that councils in England are facing an £8billion funding black hole by 2025 unless Theresa May and her ministers give them more money.

LGA chairman Lord Porter said: ‘If the government fails to adequately fund local government then it will be our local communities and economies who will suffer the consequences.’

By 2020, councils will have lost almost 60p out of every £1 that was being provided through government grants in 2010, according to the LGA.

And shrinking budgets have come under strain from surging demand for children’s services, care for the elderly and help for the homeless.

The missing £8billion needs to be found so councils can carry on performing such core legal duties.

Cuts to rural bus services are likely to continue, with free travel passes for school students aged over 16 also axed.

Crackdowns on graffiti and provision of litter bins could fall by the wayside, along with food hygiene training for businesses and council tax discounts for people facing hard times. Further cuts to budgets for fixing potholes, cleaning streets and running leisure centres are likely.

Lord Porter said victims would include ‘those who value clean streets, green spaces and roads fit for the purpose’.

He urged the government to make sure councils were financially sustainable.

‘This is the only way to ensure they can meet their legal duties to provide dignified care for our elderly and disabled, protect children, prevent and reduce homelessness and protect other valued local services,’ he said.

LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn had to take the car to highlight cuts to bus services — after the one he was waiting for failed to show up. Mr Corbyn had planned to use a service that had suffered from a reduction in funding in lkeston, Derbyshire, yesterday. After being left waiting 25 minutes, he was forced to catch a lift to Kirk Hallam Community Centre from Nottingham. ‘This kind of proves our point,’ he said.