Austerity

The big issue … austerity gets local

After weeks of drama in Paris with global consequences, the last week has seen a shift to more prosaic issues. Now that there has been some time to digest the latest Spending Review, think tanks have been pondering what this means for various aspects of local services.

NLGN looks at the overall policy implications of further austerity and sees the “weakening, if not demise of the very old idea that redistribution from richer areas to their poorer counterparts can solve regional social and economic problems”. At the same time, the piece wonders whether the size of the cake will grow enough to compensate for the fact that people’s shares are getting more measly.

What next for local government, ponders the New Economics Foundation? Announcing the School for Local Government Innovators – a pilot to support local leaders to develop initiative to tackle poverty and inequalities – it seeks to help the sector move forward in a time of uncertainty.

Nesta looks at the impacts of austerity on how councils can drive the green agenda, and in particular local approaches to energy. The report argues that although the task has been made that much harder, a future energy system could “create opportunities that go beyond energy, putting people, communities and local resilience at its heart”.

Meanwhile, the International Longevity Centre fears that we are seeing ‘the end of formal adult social care’, while New Philanthropy Capital warns of a change to the arts landscape as local authorities will have to take tough decisions to fund other services instead.