The gap between what English councils need to spend to maintain services at existing levels and their actual resources is widening – at a rate of over £2bn a year, according to the Local Government Association. This is caused by a combination of reduced government grant, inflation and demographic pressures – particularly on adult social care. Council tax is providing a rising proportion of council funding, despite below inflation increases.
LGA Chairman Sir Merrick Cockell suggests councils respond by improving democratic processes to increase citizen engagement; transform public services to prevent problems, instead of resolving them; and boosting economic growth to generate income.
£7.4bn – the reduction in total English local government income between 2010/11 and 2019/20 – from £51bn to less than £44bn. If extra income for new public health responsibilities is excluded, the real reduction is £10.5bn.