Coping with the cuts? Local government and poorer communities

Annette Hastings, Nick Bailey, Kirsten Besemer, Glen Bramley, Maria Gannon and David Watkins.
28th Nov 2013

This study looks at the scale and pattern of cuts in spending on local government in England and Scotland since 2010.

How are local authorities coping with cuts to spending and budgets, and what is the impact on deprived communities?

Local government is one of the foremost casualties of austerity in the UK. This study looks at the scale and pattern of cuts in spending on local government in England and Scotland since 2010, and explains how councils can analyse their savings plans and assess their potential impact on disadvantaged groups.

The study finds that:

  • local government spending in England is set to fall by nearly 30 per cent between 2008 and 2015; an equivalent figure for Scotland would be 24 per cent. 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 – a difference of around £100 per head in both England and Scotland;
  • reductions in spending tell only part of the story as authorities also have to cope with rising costs and demands.
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