BARNSLEY Council’s budget has been cut by around £130m every year since the Conservatives came to power according to a local councillor a cumulative total of more than £1bn.

Councillors signed off on a balanced budget at yesterday’s full council meeting, despite the ‘unique’ financial challenges that are facing local authorities up and down the country.

Coun James Higginbottom, cabinet spokesperson for environment and highways, said the cuts the council have faced over recent years have been nothing short of ‘scandalous’.

He added: “This is a budget forged in almost uniquely challenging financial and economic circumstances.

“It used to be the case that Budget speeches highlighted the scandalous impact of this Conservative administration and the devastation they have wreaked upon our town.

“And we cannot, must not, will not let that go unsaid here today.

“Fourteen years of Conservative misrule have seen Barnsley’s budgets cut in the region of £130m per year.

“That is a cumulative cut well in excess of £1bn.

“One billion pounds less for public services.

“One billion pounds less for improving our borough.

“One billion pounds that has been sacrificed on the ideological altar of austerity.

“But Conservative cuts alone as brutal as they have been and continue to be are not the sole source of financial woe for Barnsley and other local authorities.”

The council has faced ‘extraordinary’ pressure on every service they provide, but children’s adult and social care has been hit the hardest.

For example, the Chronicle understands that the cost of having one child in care can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

And in one instance, the council was paying out more than a million for one child alone.

“The triple threat austerity, demand and inflation are what’s driving the current crisis in local government finance,” he added.

“A crisis where one-in-five councils predict that they will need to issue Section 114 notices and effectively declare themselves bankrupt.

“A crisis that has seen local authorities of all political colours going to the wall with services cut entirely and council tax increases of 20 per cent and greater.

“A crisis to which the government’s response has been a sticking plaster announcement, in an election year, that won’t even begin to touch the sides of the crisis in local government.

“Now, here in Barnsley thanks to sound financial management and strong political leadership we are thankfully not in that same position.”