Hard Times, New Directions? The Impact of the Local Government Spending Cuts in London is released today.
The Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at LSE contains an independent estimate of the size of the cuts to local government budgets; London local government has taken a 33% real terms cut in service funding from central government between 2009/10 and 2013/14
It also provides case study examples of the efforts London councils are making to protect and improve front line services. The other findings are:
- Councils have, reluctantly, had to reduce their own role in the provision of discretionary services. More of these services are being delivered by voluntary and community sector partners, so the landscape of local service provision has seen some change.
- The need for Councils to pare their own provision back to statutory services, increasingly targeting those most in need, may, ultimately, result in less local variation rather than more. In this the cuts could be running counter to the promotion of the localism agenda.
- A focus on the most in need, seen in greater targeting of services, could also further fuel rising demand, as lower level need goes unaddressed.
- Council officers and Members are concerned that the ‘limits of efficiency’ have been reached, and there is little scope for further large-scale savings without significant effects on frontline services.