Local government has endured the majority of cuts in public spending since 2010, yet are continuing to provide vital services through increased innovation and a focus on efficiency. But there is only so long that this can be sustainable.
The IfG report highlights the pressure the increase in demand for both adult and children’s social care services has placed on councils. Many have had to move funding from other public services to meet the rising need for social care, but there are very few areas left where further funding cuts can be made without posing a risk to service quality and efficiency.
The cost of some services have already started to be transferred to the public, such as waste collection, and there needs to be more transparency from the government on how and where public services’ money is spent.
The upcoming Budget needs to provide local government with some emergency funding to ensure it can continue to provide services the public rely on daily. The 2019 Spending Review also needs to focus on providing a sustainable long-term funding solution for local authorities, as while an increase in funding is needed to maintain service delivery, what we really need to see is an overhaul of the current funding regime.
Government is increasingly shifting the costs of public services on to citizens as the effects of austerity continue, a CIPFA-backed analysis out today has revealed. Central government as well as local authorities are passing the costs of services, such as legal aid and garden waste collection, on to individuals, this year’s Performance Tracker from CIPFA and the Institute for Government think-tank has shown. Rob Whiteman, chief executive of CIPFA, said: “Organisations have had no choice but to shift the costs on to individuals to be able to continue to provide vital services, such as adult social care. This will become increasingly common.” Emily Andrews, associate director at the IfG, suggeted: “One way the government has tried to save money and avoid the need for tax increases is by asking members of the public to contribute more in other ways -