Poorer areas ‘face bigger cuts than rich ones’

Deprived areas across England and Scotland are seeing larger cuts to local authority budgets – of around £100 per head – than in more affluent ones, according to a new report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The JRF research analyses the scale and pattern of cuts in spending on local government in England and Scotland since 2010. It also includes detailed analysis of the approaches taken by three local councils (Newcastle, Coventry and Milton Keynes).

Key findings

  • Cuts in spending power and budgeted spend are 'systematically greater' in more deprived local authorities than in more affluent ones.
  • Deprived authorities have seen greater reductions in spending power (down by 21.4 per cent) than affluent ones (down by 15.8 per cent). A major reason for this discrepancy is the scrapping or consolidation of grants particularly geared to tackling deprivation.
  • Cuts are also generally greater in the north and midlands than in the south of England, and in the west rather than the east of Scotland. The 'north-south' difference is £69 per head.
  • ‘Efficiency’ strategies are increasingly being replaced by strategies that will have a direct impact on front-line services. Councils will be delivering or supporting fewer services, and those services that do continue may be targeted more narrowly on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups only.

Source: Annette Hastings, Nick Bailey, Kirsten Besemer, Glen Bramley, Maria Gannon and David Watkins, Coping with the Cuts? Local Government and Poorer Communities, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
LinksReport | Summary | JRF press release | Guardian report

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