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• North West council spending down by a fifth since start of the decade
• TUC calls for large-scale investment in local services

Councils in the North West are spending £1.4bn a year less on key local services than in 2010, according to a new TUC analysis published today (Monday).

The TUC has looked at of the impact of cuts on local government funding across England.

In 2010/11, councils in the North West were spending a total of £6.8bn 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 21% (1.4bn) to £5.4bn.

This works out to 23% (£180) less being spent on services per person in the region.

Only the North East has seen a bigger drop in council spending since 2010/11 than the North West.

Biggest losers

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

  • Rossendale: spending 57% (£9 million) a year less on key council services
  • Copeland: spending 51% (£8.7 million) a year less on key council services
  • Halton: spending 51% (£76 million) a year less on key council services
  • Preston: spending 46% (£18 million) a year less on key council services
  • Burnley: spending 44% (£11 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, says the TUC.

Local councils today are increasingly more 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.

TUC Regional Secretary Jay McKenna said: “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.”

Editors note

Notes to editors:
- A full list of all local authorities in England is available here:


- These figures are based on net total expenditure outturn for 353 local authorities in England, provided in the Local authority revenue expenditure and financing: England figures for 2010/11 and 2018/19 provided by MHCLG.

- This covers all Non-Metropolitan County Councils, Metropolitan Borough Councils, Unitary Authorities, London Boroughs and District Councils in England. Spending figures for 2010/11 have been adjusted to 2018/19 prices based on CPI.

- It is understood that in certain specific cases there may be variance in the totals shown or the methods of recording figures between individual local authorities and the figures collated by MHCLG. These figures are taken from those presented in MHCLG data sets.

- We have focused only on expenditure related to core local government services and those services that are comparable over the given period – we have therefore excluded education, early years, public health and police and fire services as well as spend on benefits.

- We include spending on highways and transport, children and adults social care, housing, culture, environment, planning and central services. In addition to net total expenditure we have added NHS cash transfers to local authority social care budgets, for example through the Better Care Fund in 2018/19 and through the Valuing People Now programme in 2010/11.

- The figures in 2018/19 relate to local authorities as they were constituted in that year – this therefore does not account for District and Unitary Authority mergers that took place in Dorset, Suffolk and Somerset in April 2019.

- The figures also exclude the City of London and Isles of Scilly local authorities due to their unique position.

- Upper tier authorities include all London Boroughs, Non-Metropolitan County Councils, Metropolitan Boroughs and Unitary Authorities. This excludes funding provided by transport authorities and combined authorities that are spent in local authority areas, e.g. by the Greater London Authority or Manchester Combined Authority.

- LGA estimates about cuts to local government funding are at:

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.6 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.



Jay McKenna


0151 482 2710


Alex Rossiter
020 7467 1285

07887 572130

TUC press office
020 7467 1248

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