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Regulation spending cut by a third

Corin Williams31/10/2012 - 13:00

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Spending on regulation is lower in England than Wales
Spending on regulation is lower in England than Wales

New figures have revealed spending on local authority environmental health and trading standards services in England has fallen by 32 per cent since 2009, outstripping cuts in most other service areas.

A report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, commissioned by the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), found that real-term cuts in local government spending were far worse in England than in Wales.

The cuts have not been distributed evenly across service areas, with regulation and safety – including environmental health, trading standards and community safety – suffering the second largest reduction in spending per person between 2009/10 and 2012/13.

The worse hit area was shown to be north east England, which suffered a spending cut of 44 per cent in spending on regulation and safety.

Spending per person on regulation and safety in Wales fell by 25 per cent. It was also shown that overall spending on regulation and safety in Wales exceeds that in England by 72 per cent.

According to the WLGA, the local government financial outlook over the next five years is ‘bleak’.

CIEH head of policy David Kidney said: ‘Most services, including regulation and safety, have seen bigger cuts in budgets in England than in Wales. There are also regional variations that are quite breathtaking with the result that cuts faced by local authorities in England are as much as twice those in Wales.

‘Councils can only take such a battering for so long. It is time for people to explain to their politicians that they value the quality and the civilising nature of their local authorities’ services and the beneficial effects they have on their communities.’

Aaron Shotton, WLGA deputy leader and spokesperson for finance and resources said: ‘Such large cuts, in addition to those already made will be difficult to achieve without affecting the range and the quality of services currently provided to local residents.

‘Such a bleak financial climate means that councils may be forced to cut, or scale back spending on a vast array of services that they have traditionally delivered.’

A further report released by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) warned of a ‘long downturn’ and concluded that the ‘worst may still be yet to come’.

This week’s EHN poll question asks: are environmental health cuts endangering public health?

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