Council spending cuts hitting North more than South

11 May 11
Council spending is being cut more in the North of England than in the South, according to research published today

By Richard Johnstone

12 May 2011

Council spending is being cut more in the North of England than in the South, according to research published today.

The BBC analysis, conducted in association with CIPFA, found that total local government spending in the North in 2011/12 will be £14.235bn, a drop of 4.65% on last year. The equivalent cut in the South is 2.79%, to £15.626bn.

The study also found regional variations in social care budgets. Combined adult and child social care spending in the North and Midlands is 5.5% lower in 2011/12 than the previous year. This compares with an increase of almost 0.6% in the South and East of England.  

The report, Council spending: making it clear, shows some of the biggest cuts across the country will take place in education funding – down 11.4% – and cultural services, including libraries, which will be reduced by 10.2%. Environmental spending will fall by 3.72%.

Some 268 of England’s 352 councils responded to the research, which was carried out between February and April this year.

CIPFA policy and technical director Ian Carruthers said: ‘In light of the spending cuts, balancing council budgets has been incredibly tough for finance directors and no individual council service is exempt from the pressure to make cuts.

‘Councils are clearly trying to meet the needs of their communities but people will have to get used to receiving less from their local council.’

The Local Government Association said the research supported their campaign for more powers over local decision-making. LGA chair Baroness Margaret Eaton said it also showed that, regardless of regional differences, councils were ‘targeting services at people most in need following unprecedented cuts to local authority finances.

She added: ‘Unfortunately, with councils seeing their funding from government cut by up to 17% this year alone, some impact on services is inevitable and tough decisions have to be made.

‘Our own recent survey of councils spending priorities revealed that local authorities were cutting senior management costs while protecting services to the most vulnerable, with the majority seeking to protect spending on adult social care and children’s social care.’

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