By Vivienne Russell
18 October 2010
Almost half of adults believe local authorities won’t have
their funding cut, according to a survey published today.
A Populus poll of 1,000 British adults reveals widespread
ignorance about the scale of planned spending cuts. While 45% of residents
surveyed said they did not expect the amount of money councils receive from
government to be cut, 13% – equivalent to one in eight – believe council grants
will increase over the next year.
People living in the Northeast were the least prepared for
spending cuts, with 30% believing government funding was set to increase.
The survey was commissioned by the public sector think-tank LGinsight. Its chair, Neil
Wholey, said councils and public sector bodies should not assume their
residents are well informed about the national financial situation.
‘Not everyone follows the national news and not everyone
seems to be getting the message that for the public sector there are
undoubtedly going to be tough times ahead. Keeping residents informed about
proposed service and budget changes helps to ensure they understand them well
as the role of the local authority,’ he said.
‘We are going to have to work ever harder to get these
messages out there or we will risk failing to meet unrealistic resident
expectations and subsequently seeing satisfaction with the services that we
provide fall to an all-time low.'
The survey also highlights the challenge for authorities to
maintain what residents perceive to be value for money. Almost half (47%) of
residents across Britain expect the value for money their receive from their
council to stay the same, while almost one in ten (9%) think value for money
The poll found that, even among those who recognise that spending cuts
are coming, there was an unwillingness to accept a decline in value for money.