Are the cuts to Wirral Council’s budget really as bad as politicians have told us?
The information for these tables I’ve used from a Department for Communities and Local Government policy paper which has an explanatory note on how these figures are calculated. Spending power refers to the overall money available for to local councils combining how much they have from Council Tax, business rates and government grants.
|Local Authority||2013-14 Spending Power (adjusted) (£ million)||2014-15 Spending Power including Efficiency Support Grant (£ million)||Change £ million||Change %|
The population covered by each is different though, so here is a table showing the spend by dwelling.
|Local Authority||2013-14 Spending Power (adjusted) per Dwelling||2014-15 Spending Power including Efficiency Support Grant per Dwelling (£ per dwelling)||Change £ per dwelling||Change %|
But what about the Shire I can imagine a politician saying (seemingly forgetting that the Shire is better known for being a fictional place inhabited by hobbits in a fictional world invented by JRR Tolkien)? There are five types of shire, shire unitaries with and without fire, shire counties with and without fire and shire districts. The change in their spending power collectively of each type of shire varies from a 1.2% drop (for shire counties with fire) to a 2.9% drop (for shire unitaries without fire). So yes, in percentage terms the cuts to shires’ budgets are less than the drop in Wirral’s spending power.
However it’s important to note that the spending power of shires was to start with much lower per a dwelling to begin with than Wirral’s. These range from £296.22 per a dwelling for shire districts compared to Wirral’s £2,250.35 to an average of £2,028.61 per a dwelling for shire unitaries with fire.
But what about North Dorset (which seems to be the favourite council for certain Wirral politicians to compare Wirral to)? Well North Dorset has about a fifth of the dwellings that Wirral does. Its spending power for 2013-14 is £7.729 million (2.4% of Wirral’s). Its cut is 2.8% of its budget. Personally I hardly think it’s a fair comparison (although I very much doubt that’ll stop Labour politicians using it).
If we compare Wirral Council to other Merseyside councils (plus the fire authority), the cuts to Wirral Council aren’t exceptional or extraordinary. If we rank the cuts as a percentage to the five councils on Merseyside (plus the fire authority) the cuts to Wirral Council’s budget only come out at fourth.
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