council spending continues to fall across england

01-08-13

Local authority spending in England is estimated to continue to fall in 2013-14 compared to 2012-13. However, in a developing trend, the reduction is expected to be less than the previous year.

The data, compiled by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), shows that Total Service Expenditure (TSE) by local authorities in England has been budgeted to fall by 1 per cent this year to £93.8bn. This figure excludes public health spend which is a new responsibility this year. Last year, budgeted spending fell by 4.8% to £94.7bn, while in 2011-12 the fall was 5.7% to £99.5bn.

This means that since 2010-11 TSE will have dropped by just under 11% by 2013-14. This is a cash figure and not adjusted for inflation.

The result is that spending levels for 2013-14 will have reduced to near 2007-08 spending levels, equivalent to spending of £1,767 per person.

The biggest losers in terms of service provision will be Culture with a 4.2% reduction in budgeted spending, followed closely by Policing with a 3.8% cut to spending. Other areas seeing significant reductions are Housing (-2.9%) and Transport (-2.7%).

The figures also show regional variations in spending by local authorities. The East Midlands (-2.0%) and West Midlands (-2.1%) stand out as the local authorities reducing their budgeted spend the most while the North East bucked the trend and are expecting to see an increase of 1%.

Ian Carruthers, CIPFA’s Director, Policy and Technical said:

“While many local authorities have dealt well with the spending pressures they are under, the continued reduction of spending year on year makes it difficult to see how they can avoid some decreases in their service levels.

“There is a growing need for the public sector to start to engage in tough conversations about the future shape and nature of local government and what level of services local communities can continue to expect in the age of continued austerity and beyond.”

Further information

1. These calculations are based on budgeted figures for 2013-14 taken from the CIPFA/DCLG Revenue Account Budget Estimates (RA) return. The actual expenditure figures may be different by the end of the financial year.

2. The 2013-14 TSE figure quoted in the release excludes public health spend, which is a new local authority responsibility from 1 April 2013 and has been removed for comparative purposes. Overall TSE including public health spend stands at £96.5bn.

3. Full details are available from www.cipfastats.net.

4. Total Service Expenditure Table

 

Table 1: Total Service Expenditure, England

 

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

Change 2011-12 to 2012-13

 Change 2012-13 to 2013-14

 

2012-13

 

2013-14

£m

 £m

 £m

 %

 %

 £'head

 £'head

 Education

    43,002

    39,289

    38,793

        (8.6)

        (1.3)

        752

        730

 Highways & Transport

      5,602

      5,272

      5,129

        (5.9)

        (2.7)

        101

          97

 Total Social Care *

    21,201

    21,249

    21,286

         0.2

         0.2

        407

        401

    Children's Social Care

 n/a

      6,513

      6,636

 n/a

         1.9

        125

        125

     Adult Social Care

 n/a

    14,736

    14,650

 n/a

        (0.6)

        282

        276

 Housing

      2,328

      2,160

      2,096

        (7.2)

        (2.9)

          41

          39

 Cultural & Related

      3,059

      2,913

      2,789

        (4.8)

        (4.2)

          56

          53

 Environmental & Regulatory

      5,334

      5,259

      5,291

        (1.4)

         0.6

        101

        100

 Planning & Development

      1,398

      1,288

      1,265

        (7.9)

        (1.8)

          25

          24

 Police

    11,840

    11,604

    11,166

        (2.0)

        (3.8)

        222

        210

 Fire

      2,224

      2,217

      2,174

        (0.3)

        (1.9)

          42

          41

 Central

      3,125

      3,159

      3,286

         1.1

         4.0

          60

          62

 Other

        392

        327

        550

      (16.6)

       68.5

            6

          10

 Total excluding Public Health

   99,504

   94,737

   93,827

       (4.8)

       (1.0)

     1,814

     1,767

 Public Health

 n/a

 n/a

      2,699

 n/a

 n/a

n/a

n/a

Total Service Expenditure

 n/a

 n/a

   96,526

 n/a

 n/a

n/a

n/a

* Compares 2011-12 line 390 with 2012-13 lines 329 and 390 and 2013-14 lines 330 and 360