Futures Forum: Local government and austerity
Futures Forum: The pulverisation of local government
Futures Forum: The impact of 'the big society' and 'the small state' on local government
The County Council Network says it's going to get worse:
Home - County Councils Network
At the beginning of the month, the Network issued further warnings:
WATCH: CCN warns that more councils will struggle without new funding on prime-time BBC News - County Councils Network
And at the end of last week, it was doing much the same:
'£1bn in unpalatable county council cuts' ahead in England
'£1bn in unpalatable county council cuts' ahead in England - BBC News
This story is being picked up in the States:
LONDON — Streets littered with potholes and garbage. Alcohol and drug treatment centers shut down. Vulnerable adults and children left without care.
That is the grim picture of Britain’s future painted by the County Councils Network, which warned on Thursday that local councils will be forced to slash more than $1 billion from their budgets next year in cuts that will very likely result in services being whittled to the bone.
Councils are Britain’s fundamental unit of local government, dealing with an array of basic needs: trash collection, public transport, libraries, town planning, caring for people in need, among other things. They levy a tax on homes and charge fees for some services. They also collect a nationally set tax on commercial real estate, and keep an increasing share of it.
But they are struggling to make ends meet, mainly because of a sharp reduction over the past decade in the central government funding that makes up a large portion of their income, at a time when a rising elderly population has strained local finances. At the same time, years of government-mandated caps on tax increases have made it hard for local authorities to replenish their coffers, forcing them instead to cut services.
This year, the local Conservative-run government in Northamptonshire filed for a de facto bankruptcy twice, when selling off assets and outsourcing services failed to make the savings required to balance its books. Other counties, like East Sussex, Somerset and Surrey, are also warning that they may be able to provide only those services required by law.
U.K. Councils Struggle With Services, and Warn of Bigger Cuts - The New York Times