Dan Peters 04 April 2016

Councils defend 'difficult' service spending cuts

Spending on services such as pest control and public toilets has been cut by as much as 40% by councils since 2010, according to new research.

The investigation by the Press Association found money for many local amenities, including parks and libraries, had been cut by as much as quarter. Budgets for tackling infectious diseases are down by a half.

However, council leaders said the figures reflected ‘difficult decisions’ councils had been forced to make to ‘try and protect residents from the impact of cuts to core government funding’.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: ‘Councils are increasingly having to do more with less and to try and protect services.

‘This means having less to spend on many of the other services people value, such as filling potholes and funding leisure facilities like pools, gyms and parks, libraries and museums.’

A few service areas have had a rise in spending, however, including the budget for bridges (up 5%), waste disposal (up 11%) and coastal defences (up 14%).

A DCLG spokesman said: ‘Councils will still have almost £200bn to spend on local services over the lifetime of this parliament.

‘They also have more freedom over how they allocate their resources to meet local needs while devolution deals mean we’re transferring greater powers than ever before from Whitehall to town halls.’

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