By Alan Gilbert
According to the Financial Times of 9 February, quoting local government finance expert Bob Whiteman, at least 12 further local authorities are on the brink as budget-making for 2021-22 approaches.
In November, Croydon’s Labour council issued a “section 114” notice, an emergency freeze on spending because it couldn’t balance its budget. Whiteman says the 12 are “the tip of the iceberg”. Six may avoid “section 114” by doing deals with the government to shift spending into capital accounts.
The Tories have cut some £15 billion from central government funding to councils since 2010. In 2020-1 councils have spent more and got in less income because of the pandemic, with the gap only part-filled by extra cash from Westminster. The impact varies widely between councils. Many have lost heavily from commercial ventures made for alternative income.
• London local government trade unionists and Labour activists have called a meeting on 23 February (7 p.m. on Zoom) to rally campaigns against cuts