Richmond's council leader has slammed the Government for 'passing the buck onto the Richmond taxpayer' with the latest local government finance settlement.

The settlement, announced on Tuesday by the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, offers no further central government support for pressures felt in Richmond on children’s services and adult social care.

Instead of additional funding for these two greatest areas of the council’s spending, Richmond Council said it is expected to increase council tax levels to cover escalating costs.

Council leader Paul Hodgins said:"This settlement does not solve our problems and ultimately passes the buck onto our already unfairly funded local taxpayer.

“We are seeing more and more demand on Children’s Services, but there is no new money.”

Cllr Hodgins said the cost of providing services, including those for children looked after and special educational needs, had sky-rocketed.

He added: “An injection of new money from central government is the only way to protect the vital services which protects children, supports families and cares for our older and disabled residents.”

The settlement also confirmed that over the next four years Richmond Council will continue to see a 66 per cent cut to its remaining revenue support grant.

Cllr Hodgins added: “The age of austerity in local government is certainly set to continue.”

Richmond Council said it will attempt to share the burden with a range of community organisations and groups to help limit the impact of government-imposed cuts as far as possible.

Richmond Council has merged some of its services with other councils in an effort to save money previously, such as its successful joint venture with Kingston Council - Achieving For Children - which provides child social care and mental health services.

Cllr Hodgins said: “I don’t think we can continue to pass this problem on to local people for much longer. We will continue to lobby the Government and do everything within our control to minimise the impact on the Richmond upon Thames council tax payer.”

Next year’s Government Finance Settlement has left the borough with approximately £105 per resident, this is £133 lower than the outer London Average.

Richmond also continues to receive a poor allocation of the additional better care fund over the next three years: Richmond will receive only £5 per resident, compared to an outer London average of £59.

The council expects it will need to find at least a further £20m by 2021, despite having saved £10m by sharing staff with Wandsworth Council.