Council cuts looming for arts, culture

It makes the world go round
It makes the world go round

LIBRARIES, arts, culture and leisure services face being axed completely by councils after the government announced average cuts of 15 per cent in their budgets.

Ben Stapleton, public sector specialist at KPMG in North Fourth Street, Milton Keynes said the Spending Review for each individual council in England means many local authorities will need to be ‘ruthless’ to survive.

Mr Stapleton said: “Some councils will use this situation as a creative platform for increased efficiency, productivity and financial self-sufficiency.

“But, in order to survive, councils will need to be ruthless in urgently deciding on front line service priorities. As part of the response we should expect a series of front line services that councils consider relatively lower priority, including such things as libraries, arts, culture and leisure services, to be reduced or stopped. There will though continue to be much significant new investment in other front line activities including adult social care.”

Mr Stapleton added that the government has worked very hard over recent weeks to find a way to dampen any extreme impacts for individual councils by making adjustments to the total settlement on a case by case basis.

But he added that cash reductions of more than 15 per cent in some places will be a ‘major challenge in its scale and pace and its political implications locally’.

He also said the financial settlement will also encourage further major reductions in the size of council workforces with reductions over the next four years still anticipated to be at least 100,000 in England.