Remember when Theresa May said “austerity is over”? Well, guess what she lied.
Local authorities have their grants from central government cut year after year. This year over £1bn was cut from the money that the government gives to councils which could see council budgets shrink by as much as 6%. ‘Core spending power’ has again been increased but if you say to a beggar they can spend £50,000 but won’t even give them a fiver, they will still remain a beggar.
So, it is no surprise that todays annual survey by the Local Government Information Unit found that 80% of councils think that the current model of government finance is unsustainable. Councils are forced to both raise taxes and cut services at the same time and be punished for it at the polls as central government neatly passes the buck.
It is the vulnerable and weak that will suffer the most:
“Nearly a third of councils (29%) were planning cuts from April in adult social care, 24% plan to reduce children’s care services, 16% to reduce special education and disability support, one in 10 plan to cut homelessness support and nearly a fifth will cut grants to the local Citizens Advice bureau.”
Local government urgently needs strong champions because central government is imposing cuts and tax rises by stealth and in doing so it is undermining the local council which is the most basic unit of representative democracy.