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Our local services need large-scale investment, and they need it now

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North East councils have suffered the biggest reduction in spending of any UK region. We need a plan for healing the pain a decade of Conservative cuts have caused.

Councils in the North East are spending £750 million a year less on key local services than in 2010, according to new TUC analysis published today (Monday). 

We looked at the impact of cuts on local government funding across England. And North East councils have suffered the biggest reduction in spending of any UK region. 

In 2010/11, councils in the North East were spending a total of £2.8bn on key services such as social care, waste management, libraries and transport.

But in 2018/2019 – following years of funding cuts from Westminster – that spending had fallen by 26% (£751 million) to £2.1bn. 

This works out to 28% (£306) less being spent on services per person in the region.

Biggest losers

The five councils with the biggest spending drops on vital services in the North East since 2010/11 are:

•    South Tyneside: spending 36% (£68 million) a year less on key council services
•    Gateshead: spending 34% (£85 million) a year less on key council services
•    County Durham: spending 31% (£166 million) a year less on key council services
•    Middlesbrough: spending 30% (£57 million) a year less on key council services
•    Newcastle upon Tyne: spending 28% (£99 million) a year less on key council services

Councils in England as a whole are spending £7.8 billion a year – £150 million a week – less on key services than they were in 2010 before the spending cuts were introduced.

Impact of central government cuts

Central government grant funding to local authorities has been cut significantly since 2010.

The Local Government Association estimates that councils will have lost 60p out of every £1 the government had provided to spend on local services in the last eight years alone.

Poorer communities have been hit harder

By targeting cuts on central government grants, ministers have disproportionately impacted councils in more deprived areas of Britain.

Local councils today are increasingly reliant on raising income through council tax, their share of business rates and other charges and fees. 

But this is much harder for councils in more deprived areas of the country as they are less able to raise significant funding this way.

Ministers have slashed funding for local services across the region. These are services our communities really depend upon, like youth services, libraries and local transport. 

We need a plan for healing the pain a decade of Conservative cuts have caused. That means new investment to restore council budgets back to where they were at the start of the decade.