Leicestershire Councils Comparison

The Leicester Mercury has provided an interesting case study of two different councils, one run by Labour, the other by the Conservatives.

The City Council is run by Labour. About 70% of its income comes from government grants. They are planning budget cuts of 7%. They plan to cut £19M from a budget of £280M, and cut 270 posts from their workforce of 7,000.

The County Council is run by the Conservatives. They get about 70% of their income from council tax. They're planning to cut the budget by 20%. They plan to cut £66M from their £325M budget and cut 650 posts from their workforce of 6,000.

Given the difference in funding sources, obviously the Tory-run council would be harder hit by a council tax freeze or reduction (it would have to cut costs by about twice as much as the Labour-run City Council to deliver the same freeze or reduction, all other things being equal). The government recently called upon all councils to deliver a low council tax rise in a press release - "councils are getting 39 per cent more funding from Whitehall than they did in 1997 and there is no excuse for huge tax rises."

The article discusses a future expectation of a 2% cut in government grants, and calls upon Professor Lawrence Pratchett, head of the Public Policy Department at De Montford University, to inform readers that differences between the councils could be a party political issue. Well worth a read.