William Eichler 12 September 2018

Councils ‘struggling’ to provide services for most deprived

Councils ‘struggling’ to provide services for most deprived image

Local authorities are struggling to provide services for rising numbers of people facing disadvantage, with the most deprived areas hit hardest, report reveals.

A Quiet Crisis: Local Government Spending on Disadvantage shows that 97% of total cuts in spending on disadvantage have fallen on the fifth most deprived councils despite them also having higher numbers of people in need.

Published by the New Policy Institue (NPI), the report outlines how these deprived councils — typically northern metropolitan areas — have had to cut spending by 5% or £278m since 2011/12 due to reductions in central Government funding.

The least deprived areas, meanwhile, have been able to maintain or even increase spending on services for people facing disadvantage in the last five years. These are mostly southern county council areas.

The report, which was funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, shows that councils are being forced by Whitehall’s policy of austerity to shift funding away from preventative services in order to meet immediate crisis costs.

NPI found that in housing, preventive funding to help people stay in their homes has fallen 46% since 2011/12, while crisis spending, primarily on the costs of temporary accommodation for those who have become homeless, has risen 58%.

Similarly, A Quiet Crisis shows, to meet the costs of rising numbers of children going into care, councils are having to cut spending on the very services which could keep children out of care in the first place.

Council spending on services for disadvantaged groups has fallen overall by 2% since 2011/12 relative to 8% for local government spending overall.

During this period there has been an increase in the number of people needing help, with a 60% rise in the numbers requiring temporary accommodation due to homelessness, an 11% increase in the number of children being taken into the care system and a 4% increase in the number of people with a learning disability requiring assistance.

Reductions in the Government grant, coupled with the reduced capacity of poorer areas to raise their own taxes, will further undermine the link between an area’s need and its funding, the NPI report concluded.

‘Councils have been trying to do more with less for some years, but the tipping point is increasingly close with deprived areas hit hardest,’ said Paul Streets, chief executive of Lloyds Bank Foundation.

‘It cannot be right that the services you get if you are homeless or have a learning difficulty are dependent on the post-code lottery of the ability of your council to raise local taxes.

‘And it’s a false economy that in trying to cope councils are forced to cut the very preventive services that can help people before they get into trouble in the first place.

‘Local charities are doing their best to help councils pick up the pieces but as a country, we can and must do better than this. The Government needs urgently to look again at how it funds local councils to enable them to provide and fund services for those who need it the most, regardless of where they live.'

In competition with the PWLB image

In competition with the PWLB

Christian Wall considers what alternative funding channels are available to local authorities beyond the Public Works Loan Board.
Highways jobs

Chief Planning Officer

Leeds City Council
Up to £106k
Leeds is a city that’s brimming with confidence. Leeds, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Leeds City Council

Senior Revenues Specialist

Eastleigh Borough Council
£39,700 - £42,044
If you are excited by this opportunity and feel you have the skills, experience and attitude we are looking for, we would love to hear from you. Eastleigh, Hampshire
Recuriter: Eastleigh Borough Council

Environmental Health Officer WCC10676

Westminster City Council
£33,759 - £47,274 per annum
As an Environmental Health Officer in Food Safety or Health and Safety, you will be responsible for... London (Greater)
Recuriter: Westminster City Council

Children's Services Social Worker - ASYE Programme

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£28,215 - £34,130
You’ll need to demonstrate an interest in working with children and their families, and show us that you can manage the... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Head of Property and Facilities

Essex County Council
Up to £74K
This role is part of the Capital Investment and Delivery leadership team and has a key role to play in shaping and... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The March issue of Local Government News explores alternative funding channels that are available to councils beyond the Public Works Loan Board, what hurdles merging councils face in coming together, and how local government is handling GDPR.

This issue also has a special highways and street lighting section exploring how councils can use lighting to embark on their smart city journey and using IoT technology to weather the storm.

Register for your free magazine