Commenting on research published by the TUC today (Monday) that shows that councils in the East Midlands are spending £597 a year less on key services than in 2010, UNISON East Midlands head of local government Barbara McKenna said:
“Local council-run services hold communities together but nine years of Westminster-imposed austerity has put an immense strain on their ability to do that.
“Across the East Midlands, central government spending cuts have forced libraries to shut, care visits have been reduced, allotments and parks sold off, youth centres closed, subsidised bus services scrapped and public conveniences mothballed.
“With the government squeezing council finances, authorities have had little choice but to increase charges to local residents, reduce essential services or cut them altogether. Now nine years on, the cupboard is virtually bare and some local authorities can no longer provide the legal minimum.
“Unfortunately it’s been those councils in the most deprived parts of the country – where local people rely on services the most – that have been the biggest losers. This desperate situation cannot continue. Local government must get the resources it needs now.”
The TUC has looked at the impact of cuts on local government funding across England. Its analysis finds that in 2010/11, East Midlands councils were spending around £4bn on key services such as social care, waste management, libraries and transport.
But by 2018/2019 – following years of central government cuts – council spending across the region had fallen by 15% (£597m) to around £3.3bn. The TUC has calculated that this equates to 20% (£95) less being spent on services per person.
Councils in England as a whole are spending £7.8bn a year – £150m a week – less on key services than they were in 2010, before the government’s programme of austerity began.
According to the TUC, the East Midlands local authorities with the biggest spending drops on vital services since 2010/11 are:
- Derbyshire Dales spending 50% (£6.3m) a year less
- East Lindsey: spending 50% (£15m) a year less
- Broxtowe: spending 50% (£9.4m) a year less
- North East Derbyshire: spending 43% (£7.1m) a year less on key council services