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18 February 2015updated 05 Oct 2023 8:32am

England’s councils are on a “cliff-edge“ due to cuts

The Independent Commission on Local Government Finance has warned that local services could "collapse" due to cuts.

By Anoosh Chakelian

The Independent Commission on Local Government Finance is warning ministers that public services are on the edge of “collapse” without drastic intervention. The commission has found that English councils are on a “cliff-edge” due to past and upcoming cuts.

It found that local services, such as adult social care, could be on the brink of disappearing unless councils don’t receive some urgen financial help. Its report warns services that have long been “part of everyday life… may not be there much longer”.

The report refers to further cuts expected in the next parliament. These were outlined by George Osborne in his Autumn Statement last year, and caused the OBR to report that they would take us back to Thirties spending. The commission says the future cuts would mean areas such as children’s social care, policing, fire services and culture would “struggle to survive” unless “local areas are not given the freedom to determine their own priorities and how they pay for them”.

It urges ministers to implement a further devolution powers, including tax-raising autonomy, for local authorities. Yet the BBC reports that while the government is open to decentralisation, it will not allow councils to raise their own taxes.

The findings of this report will benefit the Labour party, which won’t cut to the same extent as the current government would in the next parliament. Also, Andy Burnham’s plan to integrate social care into the NHS means that both adult and children’s social care services would no longer be on the brink of “collapse”.

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