Sunday, 4 January 2015

Graph of the week - is the change in council spending power a political fix?

Just before Christmas the central government grants to councils in England were announced, with the minister saying there was a funding cut of only 1.8% to councils. But as with everything with this spin obsessed government, the devil is in the detail.

The 1.8% figure looks at all 354 councils, but 200 of those councils are (small) district councils that make up less than 6% of total council spending. Hence the 1.8% average cut figure is achieved by including these councils with very small budgets, so the 1.8% figure is a gross distortion.

So if we only look at the 154 large councils (London Boroughs, Metropolitans, Unitaries and County Councils) this actually makes up over 94% of all spending by councils and it gives a far more realistic picture.  

The graph above shows the cut for each of these large councils, and the colour of the bar shows which party controls that council. Note the clear picture that the largest losers are mainly (red) Labour councils, and the gainers are mainly (blue) Tory councils.

Is this a political fix? Take a look at the graph, and decide for yourself.

1. Due to space limitations on the vertical axis not every council is labelled but every council is shown by a  coloured bar.

2. To see the actual figures for every council, look at the spreadsheet used to create the graph which can be found here:

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