Deprived Councils to be hit hardest by spending cuts

The Councils for some of the poorest areas in the UK will be hit hardest by the public spending cuts, a new report claims.

The report, by the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities (Sigoma), a group of 44 municipal authorities outside London, shows that of the ten upper-tier councils and ten lower-tier councils worst hit by last month’s Comprehensive Spending Review, all but two are in the 20 per cent most deprived areas of the country according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).

The cuts examined by the report include those to the area-based grant, the formula grant, and other grants specifically intended to support deprived areas.

The report stated: “The current finance settlement perpetuates inequality rather than allowing areas to operate on an equal footing.

“If the Government is to achieve the principle of fairness that is pivotal to the coalition agreement, it must recognise that not all communities will be able to weather the same level of cuts and not all areas of the country will have the capacity to increase private sector employment at the same pace.”
The threat to these Councils’ funding is doubled, according to Councillor Stephen Houghton, leader of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and chair of Sigoma, by the Council Tax freeze funded by cuts to the formula grant.

He argues that a Council Tax freeze will “in itself move resources away from more deprived areas with relatively low tax bases to generally less deprived areas with greater local income generating capacity.”

Commercial recycler and social welfare charity, Recycling Lives, is perfectly placed to help authorities in deprived areas cut costs by reducing the levels of worklessness that blight many of these communities.

Recycling Lives provides opportunities to individuals facing an uncertain future, including the homeless and workless, to turn their lives around through accommodation, education, training and work experience.

Case studies have demonstrated the value to society of the Recycling Lives programme.

The studies calculate the ‘social return on investment’ of two Recycling Lives Residents, weighing the cost to society of their previous lifestyles- including costs from welfare dependency, crime and alcohol/drug addictions- against the value passed back to society by the individual attaining a full time job and therefore paying tax and national insurance and earning money that is spent in the local economy.

The case studies have demonstrated a social return on investment of over £32,000 and £65,000 respectively for the Residents studied.

So far, 100 per cent of individuals who have completed the Recycling Lives programme have gone on to full-time employment and independent living.

Recycling Lives Founder and Chairman, Steven Jackson, said: “Too many communities across the UK suffer from deep-rooted, intergenerational worklessness and welfare dependency, placing a huge amount of strain on their Local Authority. The cuts to council budgets will increase this pressure even more.

“Recycling Lives is an innovative solution that provides real, measurable benefit to communities, as the case studies amply demonstrate.”