Commenting on research published by the TUC today (Monday) that shows that councils in the North West are spending £1.4bn a year less on key services than in 2010, UNISON North West regional secretary Kevan Nelson 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.
"The North has borne the brunt of these ideologically motivated cuts, with many North West councils suffering cuts of over 50% to their central Government grant funding.
“Across the North West, central government spending cuts have forced libraries to shut, care visits have been reduced, allotments and parks sold off, youth centres closed and subsidised bus services scrapped.
“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.
“It’s been those councils in the most deprived parts of the country – where local people rely on services the most – which have been hit the hardest. This desperate situation cannot continue. Services are on their knees- the next Government must invest in Northern communities immediately.”
The TUC has looked at the impact of cuts on local government funding across England. Its analysis finds that in 2010/11, North West councils were spending £6.8bn 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 21% (£1.4bn) to around £5.4bn. The TUC has calculated that this equates to 23% (£180) 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 North West local authorities with the biggest spending drops on vital services since 2010/11 are:
- Rossendale: spending 57% (£9 million) a year less on key council services
- Copeland: spending 51% (£8.7 million) a year less on key council services
- Halton: spending 51% (£76 million) a year less on key council services
- Preston: spending 46% (£18 million) a year less on key council services
- Burnley: spending 44% (£11 million) a year less on key council services