Yorkshire and Humber hit hard by hidden further council budget cuts
Local councils across the region are bracing themselves for shock new budget cuts for local services from next year, much higher than those the Government has publicly announced. Across the region councils are estimating that they may now have to deal with a massive £100 million of further cuts; but the true impact won’t be fully known until January, leaving councils hardly any time to plan for the local impacts.
Cllr Mehboob Khan, Leader of Kirklees Council and Chair of LGYH said; ”The new system feels like an April Fools joke, coming in as it does on 1st April next year. Up to this summer councils across Yorkshire and Humber had been preparing hard, on the basis of the cut-backs that we’d been told to expect by the Government in their Spending Review. These were going to be tough, but at least we thought we knew what to expect. Yet now, less than 6 months before the next financial year, we’re facing the prospect of a staggering £100 million extra cuts across Yorkshire and Humber – and won’t really know the full scale until January.
“This is unacceptable, unreasonable and undemocratic – particularly given that we had both Eric Pickles’ and Nick Clegg’s personal promises that “no council would be worse off” in the new system. It’s critical that we make sure that Ministers really understand the local impact of these finance reforms, including the fact that councils in the North look to be subsidising those in the South. In short, all we’re asking for is a fair deal, yet these reforms are far from fair.”
The latest assessments made by councils across the region indicate that these “hidden” extra cuts, could amount to a massive £100 million in extra budget pressures across Yorkshire and Humber from next year (2013/14); and could easily be even greater the year after (2014/15).
Clearly, the detailed decisions with regard to how councils and local services will need to change or be scaled-back to cope with these extra pressures will be huge and complex issues that councils will be working through in their local areas. However, for purposes of illustration, such a huge £100m figure would broadly equate to equivalent cuts, across the region, of:
- over 6,000 care workers; or
- around 3,500 social workers; or
- almost 5,500 nursery nurses; or
- almost 6,000 waste and refuse operatives; or
- over 4 million hours of home care; or
- over 17 million meals on wheels; or
- almost 500 indoor leisure centres; or
- almost 400 local libraries.
Whilst listed for illustration, the above figures nevertheless represent the kind of decisions and trade-offs that Yorkshire and Humber councils will now need to be considering, on top of the cuts for which they had already been planning in detail.
Specific examples of the extra, unexpected budget pressures include:
- Doncaster Council now expect to be almost £9m worse off than originally expected next year, and up to a further £13m worse off by the end of 2014/15.
- Rotherham Council now anticipate being almost £8m worse off in 2013/14.
- Sheffield City Council are now anticipating further cuts in the region of £10m per year, over the next two years.
- North Yorkshire County Council is estimating additional pressure of around £7.5m next year.
- Leeds City Council is working on the basis of being over £7m worse off than originally expected.
- Kirklees Council expect around £6.5m in additional cuts next year, and £10m in 2014/15.
Councils are now forecasting that they will be considerably worse off; facing much greater cuts than they were told they needed to deliver; have no real clarity until early next year; and so have no time to plan for the extra cuts before they have to be implemented. Had the Government delivered on its promise to fully localise the retention of business rates, rather than just 50% of the future growth, then councils may have had a better chance to cope. But the continuing centralisation of 50% of business rates and various “hidden” extra cuts now emerging mean that councils – and their local communities - are simply not being given a fair deal.
The £100 million total additional cuts expected across local government in Yorkshire & Humber is based on a survey of all 22 local council finance directors/departments across the region. Specific forecasts provided from 18 of 22 councils show that these councils now expect to be a total of £96.1 million worse off than they had expected to be based on the Government’s original Spending Review figures. The £100 million total represents a reasonable assessment of what the total figure is likely to be after all 22 councils have fully re-assessed their expected local financial impacts.
YH Councils Additional Cuts Briefing October 2012
Cllr Stone Open Letter - Fair Deal
Service Transformation in the North - In June 2014, NLGN and its partners convened a workshop to discuss how councils in the North were integrating and transforming their public services. This paper summarises the discussion. More information here.
APPG Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire report following the session on the bioeconomy is now online, along with the APPG letter sent to Lord DeMauley following the meeting . More information here.
Yorkshire and Humber Local Authorities have submitted a joint letter to the DfT Rail Franchising consultation . More information here.
The APPG Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire report following the session on local transport investment and growth is now available. More information here.