Council spending is likely to have fallen by almost a third since 2010 as a result of government funding reductions, an analysis of local government spending by the Chartered Instituted of Public Finance & Accountancy has found.
The analysis of local authority spending data, including revenue budget plans for 2015-16, said that by the end of the current financial year per capita spending by English councils will have decreased by 32% in real terms since 2009-10, and by 17.2% in cash terms.
Looking at this year against 2014-15, housing is set for the greatest loss of any service budget at 9.9%, closely followed by planning and development, down by 9.8% (see attached tables).
All services’ spending fell during the year except for a 2.2% increase in highways and transportation, caused largely by projects in Greater London and the south-east.
As a special case public health showed a 16.6% increase as a result of spending transfers from NHS England to councils ahead of the latter taking over commissioning for children aged under five from 1 October.
All regions showed a fall in spending by councils in the past year except for the south-east, which was unchanged. Worst hit was the north-east, down by 4.9%.
Cipfa chief executive Rob Whiteman (pictured) said: “These figures will paint a worrying picture for many councils across England and hammer home how despite rising demand for front-line services there has been little or no respite in funding reductions to local authority budgets.”
He called on the government “to budget for the medium to long term if public services are to be sustainable over the next decade”.