Relationship with Central Government

The 2018 National Audit Office report - The Sustainability of Local Authority Finances  - provided an excellent if depressing introduction to this subject.  Its key points were:

The problem came into sharp focus during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic when it became clear that local authorities did not have the resources they needed to respond to so many concurrent challenges.  One report noted that "even with a rise of nearly 3.99 per cent every year to individual bills - just below the maximum permitted by central government - Liverpool council has 63 per cent less to spend annually than it did in 2010".

Some local authorities were tempted into making risky investments so as to increase their income.

Others simply got into debt.  Woking Council, for instance, had amassed debts of ¬£2.4 billion by 2022.


Martin Stanley

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