'Local councils have seen their central government funding halved in the era of austerity and are now on the verge of financial breaking point, according to a new report by the National Audit Office (NAO).
Parliament’s official spending watchdog said that, even as grants have been slashed as part of the Government’s drive to eradicate the deficit since 2010, demand for councils’ services, particularly adult social care, has continued to rise, putting them under extreme pressure.
Councils have been forced to dip into their financial reserves to fund their care commitments and the NAO estimates that if local authorities keep draining their savings at the current rate one in 10 will have exhausted them in just three years’ time.
The financial pressure on local authorities has been much publicised, but the NAO report lays out in detail how they have been forced to slash valued local services in response to central cuts.
Relative to 2010, more than a third fewer households have a weekly waste collection and the number of libraries has fallen by more than 10 per cent.
Grants from central government to councils have been reduced by 49.1 per cent in real terms over the period 2010-11 to 2017-18, making local authorities the most squeezed of all areas of state activity under the austerity programme of former Chancellor George Osborne.'
Read more: Local councils at financial breaking point due to austerity, warns National Audit Office
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