Local government spending declines, figures show

New figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) have revealed that councils’ spending in England will fall by one per cent in 2016-17.

The data has raised concerns over the financial resilience of councils, with cultural services set to see the biggest reduction with 5.8 per cent of cuts planned.

The figures suggest education budgets will reduce by 2.2 per cent, mainly due to the number of schools converting to academies, with fire and rescue services seeing a reduction of 1.3 per cent.

Rob Whiteman, CEO of CIPFA, commented: “Councils have taken a battering and the outlook only gets worse. These figures demonstrate the extent to which councils are suffering, without even taking into account the fiscal consequences of leaving the EU. Given that a Brexit may only compound the pressures, it is essential that local authorities undertake a thorough assessment of their financial resilience.”