– Sir Merrick Cockell, LGA chairman
We are in danger of losing entirely some services, with significant reductions right across the board.
This is a false economy which threatens to shunt additional costs onto the reactive parts of the public sector, particularly our hospitals, prisons and welfare system. There are large hidden costs associated with these cuts which will ultimately leave the taxpayer out of pocket ...
It is unfair to our residents to raise the expectation that trimming 43% from council funding will have no impact on the services they receive.
The body that represents councils in England and Wales has warned that cuts to budgets will result in them "prioritising spending on some services at the expense of others".
Services expected to be prioritised include:
- Waste management
Services that could see cuts, or disappear altogether, include:
- Leisure and cultural facilities
- Road repairs
- Home building
The financial blackhole facing local authorities is widening by £2.1 billion a year amid "counterproductive" cuts to their funding, a new report has warned.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said the extra 10 percent cut for 2015/16 unveiled in the Spending Review, on top of previously announced cuts of 33 percent, would hit the delivery of public services, while some could be lost altogether.
The LGA believes the costs of running vital services like social care, waste management and the police service will increase against a backdrop of cuts to funding.
This so-called financial blackhole will rise to £14.4 billion by 2020, the LGA said.
More than a million council workers have been offered a one percent pay rise following a three-year wage freeze, employers announced today.
Labour's Shadow Local Government Secretary, Hilary Benn, has said that council tax changes which come into effect in April are not "fair".
He also said councils have been put in an "impossible position" by the government because they have passed on the responsibility for council tax support "but they haven't passed on the bucks".
- The existing Council Tax Benefit scheme will end on 31 March 2013.
- A new scheme called Council Tax Support will be introduced from 1st April 2012 and it will be the responsibility of local authorities.
- Councils in England have seen a 10% cut in the funding system, as a result some households may receive less benefit.
- Under the new scheme pensioners will be protected.
On Monday, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles accused English councils are "cheating their taxpayers" by increasing local taxes in defiance of a national council tax freeze.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Pickles pledged to introduce new laws to force councils looking to increase council tax above a threshold of 2% to put their proposed rises to a referendum.
He said the councils were currently "treating residents with contempt” by avoiding the Government's calls for restraint in local taxation.
The Local Government Chronicle's council tax blog is keeping track of tax proposals.
According to its chief reporter Ruth Keeling: "With several weeks to go until budgets must be finalised, we count 26 councils that have confirmed their intentions to increase tax levels.
"We expect this number to increase in coming weeks".
Our reforms will localise council tax support and give councils stronger incentives to support local firms, cut fraud, promote local enterprise and get people into work. We are ending the 'something for nothing' culture and making work pay.
– Local government minister Brandon Lewis
Under the last government, council tax bills doubled.
The coalition Government has worked with councils to freeze council tax for two years, with a further freeze offered for this year.
We are cutting council tax in real terms for hard-working families and pensioners, and we are on the side of people who work hard and want to get on.
Millions of low-income households face a steep rise in their council tax bills because of benefit changes that will take effect from April.
Researchers have warned that a variation in rates of council tax support could undermine the Government's new universal credit, which is meant to simplify the welfare system and ensure it always makes financial sense to take a job.
– Matthew Pennycook, Resolution Foundation independent research group
The axeing of council tax benefit has major implications for universal credit, which is supposed to be all about simplifying welfare and giving people a stronger incentive to work.
"These changes undermine both goals. There will now be a highly-complex and confusing patchwork of local support while the low-paid will keep even less of an extra pound in earnings than the Government has claimed."