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LGA: Councils in danger of 'losing some services'

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.

– Sir Merrick Cockell, LGA chairman

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Council services that face squeeze as funding dries up

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:

  • Hospitals
  • Prisons
  • Welfare
  • Waste management

Services that could see cuts, or disappear altogether, include:

  • Leisure and cultural facilities
  • Road repairs
  • Home building

(Local Government Association)

Report: Councils face ever-wider 'financial blackhole'

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.

Waste management is one of the areas where costs are expected to rise as councils face a narrowing budget
Waste management is one of the areas where costs are expected to rise as councils face a narrowing budget Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive

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.

Chancellor: Council tax freeze to continue to 2016

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.

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Changes to Council Tax Benefit from April 2013

  • 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.

English councils accused of 'cheating their taxpayers'

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.

 Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles
Eric Pickles said councils were currently "treating residents with contempt” Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

He said the councils were currently "treating residents with contempt” by avoiding the Government's calls for restraint in local taxation.

Check your council's tax plans for 2013-2014

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".

Read: LGC's blog to see up-to-date council tax intentions

Local government minister on new council tax changes

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.

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.

– Local government minister Brandon Lewis
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