Monday, 21 January 2019

Local government and austerity: "the slow, incremental, and sometimes devastating disappearance of local services"

Local taxes are going up:
Futures Forum: District and County Council announce spending plans in a new year of austerity for local government

But local spending is going down:
Futures Forum: Local government and austerity

And this is happening across the board and across the country, as shown only from the last week:
Crime prevention budgets slashed - the MJ
UK’s most senior judge condemns government’s austerity policies in extraordinary political attack | The Independent
Local councils blame austerity for lack of investment in road improvements | Public Finance

Meanwhile in these parts, the District Council spends money it hasn't got:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: financial profligacy in a time of austerity
Futures Forum: Regenerating Exmouth seafront >>> District Council commits to £1.2m costs
Futures Forum: District Council sets up its own Local Housing Company

The Huffington Post is running several pieces this week on austerity and local government:

Why We're Focusing On Local Cuts – And What They Tell Us About Austerity In The UK

In a new series, HuffPost UK is looking at how local communities are changing as services are scaled back.

By Jess Brammar
Basia Cummings
21/01/2019 00:04 GMT | Updated 15 hours ago

Brexit is one of the great issues – and news stories – of our time. But austerity, now nearly a decade old, has been just as transformative – in a slow, attritional way that is all too easy to overlook.

The reality is a picture of a thousand small decisions taken in grey council meeting rooms, a thousand deductions from spreadsheets, and countless lives quietly made a little worse. Sexy news copy and television report material it is not.

And while it would be wrong to say the bigger picture hasn’t received a lot of coverage over the past eight years, the real-life impact is rarely “news”. These small stories seldom pass muster in newsrooms where reporters pitching ideas are asked by their editors daily: “But is it new?”

Meanwhile at a local level, councils faced with impossible budgetary decisions are having to make hard choices. So how do we mark the slow, incremental, and sometimes devastating disappearance of local services? How do we serve our readers by making sure our coverage reflects what they see where they live?

This is why HuffPost UK is devoting a week of coverage on the impact of local cuts – properly local cuts. In this series, What It’s Like To Lose, we have stepped away from considerations about what is traditionally “newsworthy”, ignoring the usual measures of scale, to look at some of the holes left in communities over the past few years, and to write about things that people tell us are important to them.


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