In the UK: a never- ending series of cuts in local government funding

Between 2010 and 2020, local councils in yhe UK will have lost 60p out of every £1 the Government had provided for services. Councils have gone to great lengths to ensure the savings they have been forced to make have as little impact as possible on the quality of services provided to their residents. They have embraced efficiency and innovation in a way that is not being replicated anywhere else in the public sector.

However, local government leaders warn the financial viability of some councils is now under threat and many others are increasingly unable to provide dignified care for our elderly and disabled, protect children, boost economic growth, fill potholes, build homes and much more.

Funding pressures and rising demand for services, such as adult and children’s social care and homelessness support, will leave local services in England facing a £3.9 billion funding black hole next year.

Figures from the Local Government Association show that residents living in a council area which sits in the mid-range in relation to current funding, levels of deprivation and outlook for economic growth should expect to see key local services further dramatically reduced in 2019/20. Millions of residents are living in areas where their council will have to consider similar measures.

Councils meanwhile are facing unprecedented demand for adult and children’s social care and homelessness services, which is forcing cutbacks in the other services, such as road maintenance, leisure centres land libraries, and concentration only upon activities. Losing a further £1.3 billion of central government funding at this time is going to tip many councils over the edge. Many local authorities will reach the point where they only have the funds to provide services for which they have a statutory responsibility. The critical thing is not to see the local government abandon home care for the elderly – there no one else willing to do it.

The Local Government Association, in its pleas to Central Government, wrote: “Investing in local government is good for the nation’s prosperity, economic growth and for the health and well-being of our nation. It will boost economic growth, reduce demand for services and save money for the taxpayer and others part of the public sector.” Comments like this have no credibility in right-wing circles, nor have stories about granny’s miserable time in Council sponsored old people’s homes. You can see why so many people, told to blame the EU, lashed out when given a chance to vote against the system.

My comment: Every Conservative government since Thatcher has targeted local government. It is all part of the earnest desire of right-wingers to starve government to death and force the populace to “stand on its own feet”, unsupported by tax revenue from hard-working CEOs, bankers and sundry mega-millionaires,(known in Tory circles as the “truly deserving”). Does this sound familiar to American readers? The only good thing one can point out is that vulnerable young people are now once again espousing ideas that would restore decency and Epicurean kindness and consideration to public affairs. There are other things in life but simply money, although the mega-rich would dispute this. Go for it, guys!

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