Council cuts: Not a penny for Derby from £300m pot to ease funding cuts


The Government has this week announced a package of funding to ease the burden of cuts on local councils. Despite these promises, analysis of the final Local Government Settlement found that 83 per cent of the extra £300 million available would go to Conservative councils. While southern county councils will get the most relief, major urban areas including Derby will not see a penny of the transitional funding.

Read the full story in today’s Guardian.


Game of cuts – winter is coming for councils

The Fair Deal for Derby campaign has proved how our city has been dealt a harsh blow by the government. Other urban areas have also been punished while affluent southern areas are protected.

Now SIGOMA – the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities – has released a video parody highlighting how the funding cuts are threatening public services.

SIGOMA , of which Derby City Council is a member authority, has based its video ‘Game of Cuts’ on the TV drama ‘Game of Thrones’, to show how deprived areas are being repeatedly hit with cuts while more prosperous regions are shielded.

Evidence supports message for Fair Deal for Derby

Research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies has heaped more evidence in support of the Fair Deal for Derby campaign.

The institute found that local authorities’ spending per person had been slashed by 23.4 per cent in real terms during this parliament, while more deprived areas and those with faster population growth – cities like Derby – have seen larger cuts.

Researchers also warned that further cuts planned by the Government for 2015-16 would generally be focused on those same authority areas that have already been hit the hardest.

That could be bad news for Derby and its residents. When Fair Deal for Derby was first launched back in 2012, the cut per person was around £75.77, compared with just a few pounds in wealthy southern areas.

Since then, the cuts have only got deeper, with £96m slashed from the council’s budgets in the last four years and another £69m due to be taken from the city by 2018.

Local government cuts in numbers

We’ve taken a look at how spending cuts are affecting areas across the country, as well as in Derby:

  • Since austerity began in 2010, Derby City Council has been forced to cut £96m from its budget, with another £69m of savings to be found by 2018.
  • If unfunded new burdens for 2015/16 are taken into account, then the cut is closer to 10% in cash terms.
  • Studies by SIGOMA, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Audit Commission have repeatedly shown that authorities in the poorest areas have faced the biggest cuts.
  • The Government have argued that these authorities have higher spending power; however this fails to take account of the fact that they also have the greatest demand for council services.
  • Policies like the New Homes Bonus and the Council Tax Freeze Grant further exaggerate the unequal distribution of Government funding.
  • The government’s Council Tax Freeze is worked out based on the Council Tax Base – how much we raise through tax – and not on need. The inequality could be compounded in future if the grant is withdrawn as more deprived authorities will tend to have a larger gap to make up.

Experts agree most deprived areas bear brunt of cuts

The Audit Commission – ‘Tough Times 2013: Councils’ financial health in challenging times’ (November 2013):

“Councils in the most deprived areas have seen substantially greater reductions in Government funding as a share of revenue expenditure than councils in less deprived areas.”

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation – ‘Coping with the cuts? Local government and poorer communities’ (November 2013):

“Cuts in spending power and budgeted spend are systematically greater in more deprived local authorities than in more affluent ones.”

Former local government minister and Conservative MP Bob Neill said:

“Those in greatest need ultimately bear the burden of paying off the debt.”

On 9 January 2014, in a debate on the Local Government Finance Settlement, Lib Dem Lord Shipley said:

“There is no doubt that cuts have been steeper in the more deprived parts of the country.”

Cumulative spending power change from 2010-11 pre in year cuts to 2015-16
Cumulative spending power change from 2010-11 pre in year cuts to 2015-16

Graph of Doom: a bleak future for local services

Since 2012 the phase ‘graph of doom’ has been used with increasing regularity when talking about the future of local government. First used by Barnet Council, it’s a PowerPoint slide showing that within 20 years, unless things change dramatically, councils will be unable to provide any services except adult social care and children’s services.

No libraries, no parks, no leisure centres – not even bin collections.

Join us in making a stand to protect local services. Support our campaign for a Fair Deal for Derby.