Magazine article Public Finance

Local Services 'At Risk to Meet Savings'

Magazine article Public Finance

Local Services 'At Risk to Meet Savings'

Article excerpt

Councils have warned that central government aspirations for a 100% increase in town hall cashable efficiency savings are unachievable without cuts in local services.

The warning is given in the Local Government Association's submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review.

It responds to indications that the Department for Communities and Local Government will seek to make local government's entire 3% efficiency target for 2008/09 to 2010/11 cashable.

Corin Thomson, senior policy consultant at the LGA, told Public Finance. 'The Pre-Budget Report set 3% as the efficiency target for the next CSR period, up from 2.5% under Gershon.

'But the reality for local government is looking like a 100% increase in the cashable savings that treasurers will have to find.'

Only half of the 2.5% Gershon target was cashable' in the sense that it had to release funds for use elsewhere, as opposed to 'uncashable' efficiencies, which simply do more for the same amount of money.

But now the DCLG has told the LGA it will be looking to make the entire 3% cashable and save £5bn by 2010/11.

The LGA is also concerned that by floating a £5bn target, the DCLG is indicating that efficiencies will be sought across too wide a base of spending. …

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