By 2020 more than half of council tax will be spent on social care, significantly squeezing already tight budgets for road maintenance, libraries and flood defences, according to research released today by the Local Government Association.
For every £1 people pay in council tax, 31p is currently spent on caring for vulnerable adults and 15p on looking after children. This is set to rise to 40p and 20p, respectively, by 2019-20. According to the projections councils will be spending nothing on long-term investment by 2020.
The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, released the data to highlight the scale of the financial struggle faced by local authorities, which have had their funding slashed by central government and been forced to agree to a council-tax freeze. Core funding for councils from central government has been cut by 40% since 2010.
The analysis of how each £1 of council tax is spent reflects
the English average. Projections for 2019-20 are based on the assumption that councils will continue to protect social care and waste collection, and that cuts to local government over the next five years will be similar to those made since 2010. As budgets get tighter, many services will receive a smaller proportion of the money available.
Local authorities, which have born the brunt of this government’s spending cuts, will spend 2.3p per £1 on planning by 2020, half what was spent in 2010-11 (4.6p). Other services, such as coroners courts, will see a drop from 7.3p per £1 in 2010-11 to 2.7p in 2019-20. Meanwhile, in 2019-20, 60p per £1 will be spent on caring for elderly people, vulnerable adults and children, up from 41p in 2010-11.
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