The LGIU’s Local Democracy Research Centre is carrying out a major research project investigating the state of local government finance in England today.
For years we have seen evidence that councils are struggling financially. Year-on-year rises in council tax, cuts in service expenditure, and most dramatically, the multiple councils that have issued section 114 notices, the final recourse for a council that is no longer able to balance its budget.
But how does it look from the inside? What does managing council finances look like to senior council figures? What pressures are they facing and how are they attempting to manage them? What options do they have left for raising income or cutting spending?
To answer these questions, the LDRC surveyed chief executives, directors of finance, and council leaders and cabinet members. The resulting data affords us a vital behind-the-scenes look at the state of local government finance in England.
The next stage of the research project will build on the survey findings through a series of interviews with local government financial decision-makers.