NLGN - New Survey: Cuts forcing councils to significantly neglect preventative services despite government aspirations
Local authorities across the UK are massively underspending on preventative services due to cuts according to a respected quarterly survey of all chief executives, leaders and mayors.
- A respected quarterly survey found a very significant gap between what council chief executives and leaders feel they should be spending on prevention and what they actually spend.
- This gap equates to an £8.7bn shortfall in spending on prevention.
- The news comes in the wake of the launch of two Government strategies designed to encourage a shift to greater prevention.
The NLGN Leadership Index found that councils estimate they are currently spending 28 per cent of their resources on prevention. However, when asked to estimate what they would ideally be spending on prevention, the figure rises to 47 per cent. Plugging this gap would require an extra £8.7bn funding for local government.
The news will come as a blow to the Government which has recently launched its “Prevention is Better than Cure” strategy, which is designed to encourage a significant shift towards a preventative approach in public services. The goal was strongly reflected in the NHS Long Term Plan published just two weeks ago and will be the basis of a Green Paper on prevention planned for 2019.
There has long been concern in local government that preventative services were suffering as a result of austerity. The Early Intervention Grant for councils stood at £3.2bn in 2010 but was cut to £1.5bn by 2015. Spending on public health has fallen by £900m since 2014. And a 2018 National Audit Office report found that due to cuts, councils were increasingly focused on providing acute statutory services in social care at the expense of preventative services.
Adam Lent, the Director of the New Local Government Network, said:
“The Government’s aspiration to shift towards prevention is admirable but this survey shows that underfunding local government will make that aspiration much harder and probably impossible to achieve.
“It is the height of irrational policy-making to invest £20.5bn in the NHS to enable a shift to prevention while starving councils of the £8.7bn they need to achieve the same goal.”
The NLGN Leadership Index is a survey of leaders, chief executives and mayors of local authorities across the UK first published in March 2018. It provides a platform for councils to express their level of confidence in delivering key services and the overall experience of their community.
The full results of the survey can be downloaded HERE.
Notes to editors
- For further information, please contact Molly Jarritt, External Affairs Officers at NLGN, on 07714 448036 or email@example.com.
- The estimated cash injection of £8.7bn was calculated by NLGN based on the proportion of councils’ current and ideal spend on prevention. Total spending power on services by local authorities is calculated by subtracting education services, fire and rescue services, and police services from the total service expenditure of £89.8 bn, as published by MHCLG in the revenue expenditure and financing, 2017-18 final outturn.
- The survey was sent to 789 leaders, chief executives and council mayors across the UK. It was open between 3rd December and 17th December 2018. This latest survey had a 20.4 per cent response rate with 161 council chief executives and leaders taking part. Responses were received from all regions.
- Respondents were asked two questions about the level of council resources spent on prevention: what is it currently and what would it be ideally? Response as follows:
- Proportion of councils’ resources used for prevention by local authority type as follows:
Latest News from
King's Fund - Boost for local health partnerships as six areas secure place on £3 million grant-funding programme14/01/2021 12:35:00
Six areas in England have been chosen to join the first phase of a major grant-funding and development programme designed to improve the health and wellbeing of communities and tackle health inequalities.
IEA - JRF proposals constitute a “costly and unrealistic wish list”14/01/2021 11:35:00
Professor Len Shackleton, Editorial and Research Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s report on poverty
The King’s Fund responds to Office for National Statistics deaths data for 202014/01/2021 10:35:00
Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund responded to the latest Office for National Statistics data on deaths in England and Wales in 2020
JRF - After a decade of deprivation, we need policies that prioritise recovery for families in poverty14/01/2021 09:35:00
In yesterday’s state of the nation report, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns that ministers must make tackling poverty an economic priority in 2021 or they risk being defined by a record of worsening hardship.
IEA responds to Chancellor’s economic update12/01/2021 11:35:00
Mark Littlewood, Director General at the free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s economic statement
IEA - Keir Starmer right to warn against hikes to council tax – but what taxes would he increase instead?12/01/2021 10:35:00
Julian Jessop, Economics Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded to Sir Keir Starmer’s speech on the economy
Brexit deal leaves workers’ rights and environmental protections at serious risk of erosion, warns IPPR12/01/2021 09:35:00
Despite improving on a ‘no deal’ outcome, agreement leaves wide scope for key rights and duties to be rolled back
The King’s Fund responds to the latest emergency care situational reports and estates data08/01/2021 13:20:00
Siva Anandaciva, Chief Analyst at The King’s Fund, responded to the latest NHS Urgent and Emergency Care Daily Situation Report data and Estates Returns Information Collection
Adam Smith Inst - Vaccination acceleration worth a shot05/01/2021 11:35:00
The COVID-19 pandemic rages on with an average of over 40,000 daily new confirmed cases in the United Kingdom (UK), an all-time high. Over 400 people a day die with the virus, and lockdown measures necessitated by the virus continue to cause further harms. The fastest and safest way out of this crisis, the Adam Smith Institute argues, is mass vaccination.