IFS finds that the most deprived areas have seen the deepest cuts

Planned spending cuts for 2015-16 are likely to return to the same areas to squeeze them further

New research has shown yet again that it is the poor who are suffering most from this government’s cuts.

An Election Briefing Note published today by the Institute for Fiscal Studies describes how between 2009-10 and 2014-14, local authority spending per person was cut by 23.4 per cent in real terms. In general, the IFS finds, more deprived areas and those with faster population growth have seen the biggest cuts.

What is more, further cuts planned for 2015-16 will affect the same local authorities that have already been cut, meaning that the same people are being affected over and over again.

The IFS find that cuts to net service spending over this parliament have tended to be larger in areas that were ‘initially more reliant on central government grants to fund spending’; areas that are deemed to have a high level of spending need relative to their local revenue-raising capacity, ie. the most deprived.

David Innes, a Research Economist at IFS and one of the authors of the report, said of the findings:

“English councils – like many government departments in Whitehall – have experienced sharp cuts to their spending power over the last five years. But the size of the cuts has varied a lot across England.

“On the whole, it is more deprived areas, those with lower local revenue-raising capacity, and those that have seen the fastest population growth that have seen the largest cuts to spending per person. Further cuts are likely to come in the next parliament and they could well be focused on many of the same local authorities if the current mechanism for allocating funds is retained.”

London boroughs have seen the largest average spending cuts per person, with an average of 31.4 per cent. In the North East, spending per person was cut by 26.5 per cent, and 25.7 per cent in the North West.

By 2014-15, spending cuts in London had been nearly twice as deep as those in the South East. In the future, the IFS predicts, areas like this with more rapid population growth will find it harder to maintain a steady level of spending per person.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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