Local level cuts hit London and poorest hardest

Chris Papadopoullos
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to local government spending will hit London boroughs harder than the rest of England, a think tank has said today.

Spending per person has been cut by 23.4 per cent between 2009-10 (the year to April 2010) and 2014-15 when accounting for inflation, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said.

But the size of cuts have varied markedly across the country.

Westminster has seen a cut of 46.3 per cent cut in local government spending over that time compared to 6.2 per cent in north east Lincolnshire.

Further cuts planned for 2015–16 will generally be focused on the same local authorities that have lost out over the last five years.

London boroughs face cuts of 6.3 per cent on average next year compared with 1.9 per cent cuts faced by shire counties. Without a change in policy, any further cuts over the next parliament are also likely to affect the same places again.

The IFS also believe that cuts have disproportionately hit poorer areas.

“On the whole, more deprived areas and that saw faster population growth have seen large cuts,” the IFS said.

“English councils – like many government departments in Whitehall – have experienced sharp cuts to their spending power over the last five years,” said David Innes, a research economist at the IFS.

“But the size of the cuts has varied a lot across England. On the whole, it is more deprived areas, those with lower local revenue-raising capacity, and those that have seen the fastest population growth that have seen the largest cuts to spending per person. Further cuts are likely to come in the next parliament and they could well be focused on many of the same local authorities if the current mechanism for allocating funds is retained.”

These cuts are similar in magnitude to those seen on average across central government departments outside protected areas such as the NHS schools and overseas aid, the IFS said.

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