Average council spending £1,017 a head

17 May 11
Local government will spend on average more than £1,000 a head on council services this year, according to figures released today.
By Richard Johnstone

17 May 2011

Local government will spend on average more than £1,000 a head on council services this year, according to figures released today.

However, the data, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, also show that almost two-thirds of the population live in council areas that are spending below the average of £1,017.

The analysis of local government spending reveals that almost £53bn will be spent by councils in 2011-12, which is made up of either council tax revenues or grants from DCLG. The figures cover billing authorities - unitary authorities, district and city councils, but not county councils.

Sixty-three per cent of the population is covered by councils that spend less than the average, while almost one in five councils – 19% – have less than £830 a head to spend.

The lowest spending council is the unitary authority of Windsor & Maidenhead, which according to the figures, will spend just £715.06 a head this year.

Seventy-eight councils have more than £1,000 a head to spend. These include all the London boroughs as well as the city authorities of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle, Nottingham, Leicester and Sheffield.

The authority with the greatest spending power – excluding the City of London and the Scilly Isles – is the London Borough of Hackney. The next 17 highest-spending authorities are also London boroughs. Outside London, the biggest spender is Knowsley Metropolitan Council on Merseyside, followed by Liverpool City Council.

The figures have been released following the publication earlierthis year of the council tax and formula grant received per head in each council.

The government said the grant formula to local government was structured so areas most dependent on it received the biggest share of central government funding.

The top ten councils in terms of formula grant per head are all in the top 20 of spending per head, and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles saidthe figures show that ‘the poorest areas receive the most money’.

The formula meant that authorities that collected more council tax received less grant. Richmond-upon-Thames, the authority with the highest council tax take per head in England is twenty-third on the list of spending power.

Pickles said that the figures would demonstrate which authorities provided best value for money. ‘The public knows that councils – and indeed central government – can deliver far better for value money. It’s not how much you spend, but how you spend it,’ he said.

‘The poorest areas receive the most money. But some of the councils with the best services receive the least.’

People wanted value for money wherever they lived, he said.


The top ten councils in revenue spending power per head are:


Hackney                                   £1,991.64

Tower Hamlets                         £1,889.64

Islington                                    £1,880.73

Newham                                   £1,820.96

Camden                                   £1,768.02

Southwark                                £1,707.63

Lambeth                                   £1,694.11

Haringey                                   £1,685.66

Hammersmith & Fulham           £1,667.46

Kensington & Chelsea              £1,641.33


The bottom ten councils are:


Windsor & Maidenhead             £715.06

York                                           £733.82

Hinckley and Bosworth             £739.44

Wokingham                               £742.06

Charnwood                                £742.72

Blaby                                         £742.85

Harborough                               £758.31

Basingstoke and Deane            £761.03

Oadby and Wigston                   £766.79

North West Leicestershire         £767.21

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