Simon Parker, Director of local government think tank NLGN responds to the 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR):
“George Osborne has set out a spending review for balancing the nation’s books, but his plans for deep council cuts show he is in denial about the challenges Britain’s demographics pose to hard-pressed social care departments.
“While giving councils the ability to make a 2% council tax increase is a lot better than nothing, it comes nowhere near to solving the problem.
“In poorer parts of the country such a raise could generate as little as £500,000, which is not enough to cover planned increases in the national living wage, let alone fill the service provision gap caused by cuts. This is a drop in the wrong ocean.
“With the number of over-85s projected to increase by nearly 20% by 2020, it makes no sense to ask already-squeezed local authorities to bear such a large share of deficit reduction. There is a danger that we are simply storing up spending pressures for the future.
“The chancellor’s short-termism means cutting critical budgets that support local economic prosperity.
“Local government must play its part in finding innovative solutions that deliver more for less, but councils cannot be expected to outwit the aging process. George Osborne must set out a long term settlement for health and social care, not just cut and hope for the best.”
Notes for Editors:
1.NLGN is the leading local government think tank. More information on our work can be found at www.nlgn.org.uk.
2.For media requests, please contact Head of External Affairs, Emma Burnell on 07851 941111.
3.Source for Demograpic projection: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/key-issues-parliament-2015/social-change/ageing-population/