England's local authorities struggling to protect front-line services

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
There has been a 33.7% reduction in the number of households receiving a weekly service in England outside of London

England's local authorities are struggling to protect front-line services, according to a new National Audit Committee report.

Since 2010, central government funding to local authorities has fallen by 49.1%.

This equates to a 28.6% real-terms reduction in ‘spending power’ which includes government funding and council tax.

Some of England's front-line services are feeling the squeeze, in particular waste collections, miles of subsidised bus journeys and libraries.

There has been a 33.7% reduction in the number of households receiving a weekly service in England outside of London.

In efforts to reduce the deficit, local authorities have been faced with a range of new demand and cost pressures while their statutory obligations have not been reduced.

Non-social-care budgets have already been reduced, so many authorities have less room for manoeuvre in finding further savings.

The report also stated that the financial future for many authorities is less certain than in 2014, with added uncertainty from delayed reform to the local government financial system.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “The government risks sleep walking into a centralised local authority financial system where the scope for local discretion is being slowly eroded.”

The full report can be found here.


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