THE latest Tory Government announcement concerning Local Government’s spending settlement for 2019/20 is confusing to say the least, verging on fake news, if the difference in glowing utterances coming from Tory politicians is contrasted to the negative complaints coming from the Local Government Association and the independent Kings Fund.

Yes, there is an overall increase in core funding of 2.8 per cent, but when reduced to real terms this constitutes only a 1 per cent uplift.

In the light of the reduction in overall real terms central government support of some 60 per cent of total spending since the onslaught of Tory-led control from 2010 till now, this 1 per cent is like a drop in the ocean regarding fixing the vicious and unnecessary billions of pounds of cuts previously forced on our local councils’ jobs and services.

PM May’s statement that this Autumn Budget heralded the end to austerity now rates as a sick joke, almost as bad as her party’s far-right Brexiteers telling us that leaving the EU was both easy and profitable.

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Equally, the Somerset County Council leader’s expression of joy at the news that Somerset has been selected as one of 15 authorities to be in the Business Rates Retention pilot is an exaggerated call, since his council will get only an extra one-off £1 million from the near £7 million on offer.

Also, the likely raising of the regressive Council Tax for us all by 3 per cent (still bumped up by previous dedicated social care precept), which is well above inflation, will again be a big Tory tax increase with yet more cuts in services: an embarrassing reversal of the Tory mantra of getting “more for less” by making efficiency savings.

What cuts in services, you might say? Well, on the county council’s latest figures from last week’s cabinet meeting, another £15 million of cuts have to be found from next year’s forecast budget and a further £13 millions over the following two years.

And these are all assuming this year’s emergency planned extra £13 millions of cuts actually happen.

What hypocritical happy new year “end of austerity” Tory greetings this makes! Surely time for their comeuppance in next May’s elections?