Tuesday 12 January 2016

Local Government Budget

The big loser in the draft budget is local government. The budget is cut by 3.5% or £500m in cash terms. On top of that there are additional commitments like the NI increases that could double that cut. CoSLA calculates this will cost 15,000 jobs or ‘the equivalent of 50 Tata Steelworks’ – but don’t expect a taskforce! 
There is the prospect of some additional funding for social care routed through the NHS budget, but it remains to be seen how much reaches these services when the NHS is under pressure and political scrutiny. This emphasises the importance of local government speaking up for council services that are just as important to our communities.

We need to expand the budget envelope not just shunt austerity to councils. The Council Tax freeze is simply unsustainable and there are indications that the public agrees. The Commission on Local Tax Reform has again run through the options, but a local income tax would be a whole new headache.
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