Local government finance – cold turkey and stuffing included

Most organisations send around a seasonal message to staff – “well done, thanks and enjoy the holiday” sort of thing.  Yesterday’s announcements of the localism bill combined with the financial settlement for local government is an unusual take on the festive missive.  And in the North West, it looks particularly grim.

But the message is a very muddled one.  Pickles has created a new way of presenting the numbers – change in ‘revenue spending power’.  The results, as presented, then show authorities losing no more than 8.9% next year.  (Why 8.9%?)  So it appears to be not as bad as some of the worst fears of recent months – the same old smoke and mirrors we saw from the Chancellor a few weeks back.

But the reduction of specific grants connected to deprivation and other indicators of need (Labour’s preferred mechanism for allocating resources) together with a general drop in the spending assessment formula is at the heart of the calculation.  For Liverpool, that looks more like a 17% cut in the next financial year.  And the impact is similar across Merseyside.  Weaning local government off these area based grants would have been a long term process.  Cold turkey seems the coalition government’s preferred approach.

Meanwhile, in the parliamentary debate on the finance settlement, Pickles has praised Liverpool city for reducing the costs of senior management.  At first, this cull seemed an unplanned (random?) act of decapitation.  Now it is held up as an example of visionary management?  Ruling a city by fear is not something I would commend as good practice to others.

And while all this is going on, news emerges that a report on the audit of the LDL contract (see my earlier posts on Murkyside) has been delayed and a scrutiny committee meeting cancelled.  Why?  Because all those senior officers involved in the investigation of the LDL contract have left the council.  Visionary?  Get stuffed!


2 Responses to “Local government finance – cold turkey and stuffing included”

  1. 1 christina December 14, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Thanks. Left me more informed and made me laugh and want to cry. Inspired!

  2. 2 Anchor2 December 29, 2012 at 5:23 am

    A motivating discussion is worth comment. I think that you ought to write more on this subject, it may not be a taboo
    subject but usually people don’t discuss these issues. To the next! Cheers!!

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