Here in the BDO Local Gov offices we are getting excited for Christmas and what better way is there to spread the Christmas joy, than to think about what the future of local government holds in 2014?
Based on this exciting premise, we will be releasing a series of micro blogs over the coming weeks written by our team identifying the policies that we think will be shaking (or not shaking) up the local authority landscape in 2014. And so here goes… Big shout out to our colleague Matt for going first!
2014: The year of falling demand
So far, all of the cuts have been made in during a period of rising demand, driven by demographic change and economic hardship. The demographic pressures remain, but as the UK economy appears to be returning to a more normal rate of growth, the economic forces that drove a rise in demand for some services will lessen. This is a double edged sword. Services that have seen spikes in demand due to the recession may look forward to some respite, but the level of savings required over the next three years is so severe that as soon as demand falls in one area, Councils will have to reduce budgets accordingly. That is particularly worrying if, as many predict, the economic recovery is fragile. Councils face a difficult decision – do they make savings where they can on the back of economic growth, or do they retain the capacity to deal with the potential for further future economic problems?