London and the north of England worst affected by local authority spending cuts

Deprived areas in the north of England and London have seen the biggest drops in local authority spending since 2010, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.

Research finds significant inequalities in cuts to council services across the country affecting  adult social are, as well as highways and transport, culture, children and young people’s services, and environmental services. The most severe cuts to local service spending between 2010 and 2017 were generally associated with areas of “multiple deprivation”.

According to researchers, this pattern is clearest in England where all 46 councils that cut spending by 30 per cent or more are located. These local authorities tend to be more reliant on central government, with lower property values and fewer additional funding sources, as well as less ability to generate revenue through taxes.

The north was hit with the deepest cuts to local spending, closely followed by parts of London. The ten worst affected councils include Salford, South Tyneside and Wigan, as well as the London boroughs of Camden and Hammersmith and Fulham. Westminster council had a drop in service spending of 46 per cent – the most significant in the UK. 

The research also shows a large swathe of southern England, primarily around the ‘home counties’, with low levels of reliance on central government and only relatively minor local service cuts. 

Average cuts to local services are twice as deep in England compared to Scotland and Wales, researchers found.  

Local authorities with largest spending drop Change in service spending 2010-2017
Westminster -46%
Salford -45%
South Tyneside -44%
Slough -44%
Wigan -43%
Oldham -42%
Gateshead -41%
Camden -39%
Hammersmith & Fulham -38%
Kensington & Chelsea -38%



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  1. It is hard to find a positive comment with figures like this and it certainly presents a serious issue for local authorities unless they can come up with a new way to generate significant funds for this and their many other valuable services. Solutions have been proposed but our government has yet to comment or deliver its long overdue green paper on social care.

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