A recent study has found that deprived cities in the North of England have been hit the hardest by Austerity cuts to local governments in the last decade, with the worst hit cities, Liverpool and Barnsley, having faced up to a 40% cut to their local government spending budget.
The study was published by the Centre for Cities, a think-tank set up to track data and statistics for UK Cities published its statistics on local government spending data since 2010, including spending data for 62 cities in England, Scotland, and Wales.
The study found that 60 out of the 62 cities in the study had seen cuts to their spending since 2010, with only Oxford and Luton seeing increases to their spending. The north-west and north-east of England, which are heavily labour-inclined regions, are also being disproportionately hit by the larger sized cuts to spending.
Only a few cities in Scotland were studied, with one city, Glasgow, showing a 23% cut to local government spending for the city.
The largest net size of spending cuts was for London, where £3.9 billion was cut from local spending since 2010, which represents 30% of the total cuts of all 62 cities in the study. However, due to the size of London this only accounted for 21% of it’s overall local government spending.
Many cities spend over half of their government-allocated budgets on social care each year, a proportion that has been steadily increasing since 2010 and the biggest increases in social care spending have been seen in the south-east of England, and Barnsley, that saw 62% of it’s council budget spent on social care last year.
The results of the study have come exactly a week after the Government announced plans to fundamentally overhaul the way funding is allocated to local governments. This is believed to adversely impact more deprived areas of the country in favour of more affluent rural communities by taking away the weighting requirements based on poverty levels of a local government’s area when deciding spending budgets, with many critics alleging that the plans may be political in nature to adversely affect Urban Labour Constituencies.
Local governments have seen the second highest cuts to budgets of any government department between 2009 and 2016, seeing cuts of over 60% in their annual spending budgets due to Austerity measures, with these cuts manifesting the harshest for British cities in terms of the decreases in spending per capita.