Commenting on research published by the TUC today (Monday) that shows that councils in the South West are spending £370m a year less on key services than in 2010, UNISON regional secretary Joanne Kaye said:
“Local council-run services hold communities together but nine years of Westminster-imposed austerity has put an immense strain on their ability to do that.
“Across the South West central government spending cuts have forced libraries to shut, care visits have been reduced, allotments and parks sold off, youth centres closed, subsidised bus services scrapped and public conveniences mothballed.
“With the government squeezing council finances, authorities have had little choice but to increase charges to local residents, reduce essential services or cut them altogether. Now nine years on, the cupboard is virtually bare and some local authorities can no longer provide the legal minimum.
“Unfortunately it’s been those councils in the most deprived parts of the country – where local people rely on services the most – that have been the biggest losers. This desperate situation cannot continue. Local government must get the resources it needs now.”
The TUC has looked at the impact of cuts on local government funding across England. Its analysis finds that in 2010/11, South West councils were spending around £4.6bn on key services such as social care, waste management, libraries and transport.
But by 2018/2019 – following years of central government cuts – council spending across the region had fallen by 8% (£370m) to around £4.2bn. The TUC has calculated that this equates to 13% (£78) less being spent on services per person.
Councils in England as a whole are spending £7.8bn a year – £150m a week – less on key services than they were in 2010, before the government’s programme of austerity began.
According to the TUC, the South West local authorities with the biggest spending drops on vital services since 2010/11 are:
- Exeter: spending 49% (£13.4m) a year less
- Gloucester: spending 42% (£10.9m) a year less
- North Devon: spending 41% (£7m) a year less
- South Somerset: spending 34% (£9.5m) a year less
- Christchurch: spending 31% (£3.1m) a year less on key council services
A full list of all local authorities in England is available here: