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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Tough Times for Councils

The Audit Commission has published a report showing just how bad the financial situation is for local Councils.

I suppose the first point to note is the unfairness.  The government has concentrated the cuts on the poorest areas, in London and the north of England.  The most deprived areas of England saw a cut of just over 14%, compared to a bit over 4% in the richest areas.  The poorer areas tend to be more dependent on central government grant, making the impact even worse as it accounts for a greater share of the spending.  I don't believe it is coincidental that the worst hit areas tend to be Labour.

Administratively, the Councils have been fairly successful in holding together, but over time it will get worse and worse.  As time goes on, future savings will become more and more dependent on shared services and partnerships that are inherently harder to deliver.  The Audit Commission regard more than a tenth of Councils not to be "well placed" to cope with next year, let alone the longer term.

I wonder what Eric Pickles will do when some start to just collapse?

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