Wednesday, 22 March 2017

"Councils in Crisis" >>> a quiet revolution in finding new ways to raise money and deliver services

Local government is clearly in crisis:
Austerity: Britain’s local councils face financial crisis | The Economist
Funds crisis pushes more children into care - report - BBC News
'Lack of money' prompts care firms to end council contracts - BBC News
England's homeless crisis to hit breaking point without radical rethinking of housing policies, says report | The Independent
Budget millions to head off care crisis ‘too little, too late’ - Yorkshire Post

This is partly because of a change in the funding regime - which will mean that local authorities will have to rely on council tax and business rates:
Futures Forum: Business rates: promising a 'fundamental reform of the system'

An effect has been to force local government to become more 'enterprising':
Futures Forum: District Council sets up its own Local Housing Company
Futures Forum: Local Housing Companies >>> 'It is early days for this new model of house-building, but with their seeming commitment to quality design, the omens are promising for architects seeking work in the sector. Whether this model can bridge the gap in affordable housing provision remains to be seen."

But, as File on Four reports, it is a risky policy:

Councils in Crisis

There's a quiet revolution going on in our Town Halls. With funding slashed, Local Government is tasked with finding new ways to raise money and deliver services, or face failing to comply with its legal obligations. As councils in England are tasked with becoming more self sufficient, File on 4 examines the different approaches councils are taking in an effort to balance the books.
As some invest in commercial property others are spinning off traditional council departments into new companies with commercial divisions. The aim is to plough profits back into services.
But as the programme discovers these plans don't always work out. What happens when there is no profit? As the pressure on adult social care grows, some councils now face the twin struggles of meeting demand, with the need to turn a profit. Is this too much of a gamble in services which can mean the difference between life and death?
Allan Urry investigates the scale of the challenge as local authorities grapple with rising demand, falling income, and new ways of doing business.

BBC Radio 4 - File on 4, Councils in Crisis

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