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11 December 2014updated 24 Jul 2021 4:55am

Ed Miliband finds £500m of efficiency savings in the local government budget

The Labour leader announced the result of his party's zero-based review in his speech on the deficit.

By Anoosh Chakelian

Ed Miliband made a speech about the deficit today, setting out his plans for balancing the books if he makes it into government. His key announcement was the result of the party’s zero-based review, a study by his shadow Treasury team into every single pound spent by the government. The third interim report from the review finds that Labour can make £500m in annual efficiency savings in the Communities and Local Government budget.

In his speech, Ed Miliband said:

Labour councils all round the country have shown even in very tough times that they can still improve services.

And today the report of our zero-based review into local government is showing how we can make further savings of £500 million.

Having worked on this report, Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, and Hilary Benn, shadow Communities and Local Government secretary, outline Labour’s plans:

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  • To save over £500m a year from 2016/17 through shared services, back-office collaboration, and streamlining, to better protect the frontline.
     
  • To end the complex, regressive and ineffective New Homes Bonus, with the funding reallocated more fairly within local government.
     
  • To consider proposals to merge some of the 46 Fire and Rescue Authorities in England, making savings of between £62.7m and £83.6m a year, in order to better protect frontline firefighters and appliances.
     
  • To save £100m from the £320m Transformation Challenge Award 2014-16, in which small authorities have been forced to bid for central government approval for outsourcing projects rather than focussing on collaborating with neighbouring councils.