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Thursday, 5th December 2013

UK: Coping with the Cuts? Local Government and Poorer Communities

Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation (UK)

From Main Findings:

In England, local government spending (excluding police, schools, housing benefit) is set to fall by nearly 30 per cent in real terms between 2008 and 2015; an equivalent figure for Scotland would be 24 per cent. As funding covers some new service burdens, the underlying cut in funding for existing services is even higher.

Cuts in spending power and budgeted spend are systematically greater in more deprived local authorities than in more affluent ones, with a difference of around £100 per head in both England and Scotland; cuts are also generally greater in the North and Midlands than in the south of England, and in the west rather than the east of Scotland.

Reductions in spending tell only part of the story as authorities also have to cope with rising costs and demands. Three case study local authorities in England – two in deprived urban centres, one in a relatively better off ‘growth area’ – illustrate the real scale of the ‘budget gap’ that councils have to tackle. In two cases, the annual level of savings required since the 2010 Local Government Grant Settlement averages 9 per cent. In the third, the average is 12 per cent.

Substantial savings have been generated by the case study authorities via a range of ‘efficiency’ programmes which, in theory at least, do not impact directly on the level and quality of front-line services. Opportunities to identify such savings are rapidly diminishing. As a result of having to find other kinds of savings, significant repositioning of local government is currently underway.

+ Direct link to Report (PDF; 782 KB)



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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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