Councils are facing difficult choices, but slashing tree planting budgets should not be one of them.
At this time of year, councillors and senior officers in local authorities go into “budget mode”. Councils have to agree how much they are going to spend over the next year… both for ongoing revenue expenditure and investment in capital projects. They also have to set the level of council tax for local residents for the year ahead.
A big proportion of council funding comes from Government grant. The funding formula is fiendishly complicated and has changed again this year. There has always been pressure for budget savings but now things have moved into a different league. As part of the Government’s programme to cut the country’s budget deficit, grants to local authorities are being cut by around 28 per cent over a four year period.
A report from the Local Government Association last year estimated that when unavoidable…
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