Local Services Under Seige: Attitudes to Public Services in a Time of Austerity

Kirsten Besemer and Glen Bramley

Recent austerity measures in the UK have resulted in major reductions in spending on local public services, which will have a significant impact on both the level and quality of local service provision. This paper presents a new analysis of people’s attitudes to local services and discusses to what extent the degree and allocation of public service cuts reflect the priorities of the general population. Overall, it was found that support for local services remains very high across the UK and has in some cases increased since 1999. This paper also notes that major cuts to preventative services may imply greater costs in core services in the long run. The analysis is based on the PSE: UK research questions on local services in the Omnibus Survey, conducted in the United Kingdom in July 2011. The paper also draws on previous analysis of the 1999 Poverty and Social Exclusion survey and the 1990 Breadline Britain Survey of comparable questions.