How has austerity affected cities? Cities Outlook 2019

Fri, February 8th, 2019

In a spending review year, Cities Outlook 2019 explores how local government...

In a spending review year, Cities Outlook 2019 explores how local government cuts since 2010 have impacted UK cities, finding that cities have shouldered almost three-quarters of all local government spending cuts.

Not only that, but with an ever-increasing demand for services like social care, cities are dedicating more and more of their spending to these vital services, leaving little room to pursue activity in support of their wider economy.

With the end of austerity in sight, this year’s Cities Outlook looks at how cities have responded to cuts in their spending, and what new avenues for revenue they have been able to explore.

Key findings

  • Per head, cities saw a cut in spending of £386 compared to £172 elsewhere in Britain.
  • The largest cuts were felt in the north of England, on average seeing 20% reductions in their budgets.
  • London also saw huge reductions in its spending, accounting for 30 per cent of the total cut to local government day-to-day spending since 2009/10, despite being home to 16% of the population.
  • Southern English cities (except London), were relatively less badly hit – and were more likely to find ways to replace lost government grants, such as setting charges for services.
  • Cities experienced an increase in demand for services like social care, more than half of cities spend most of their budgets on social care – in 2009/10, only four cities were in that position.

Get the latest data for your city here

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