Since 2010 government funding for local authorities in England has fallen by 49%

In June 2018, 21,000 people working in local councils and schools provided evidence which revealed the true impact of cuts. It showed local services are overstretched, neighbourhoods are in decline and residents are at risk. The SOS campaign has an important opportunity to stem the crisis – but we need your help now.

The government urgently need to prioritise more funding for local authorities at the November budget. What will make them listen?

Your personal experience. The impact cuts have had  on your family, your community or your workplace can make your local MP realise how dire the situation is. And they can pressure the government in the lead-up to the budget.

Speak to your MP at their office in your local area

Email your MP to tell them what is happening



A testament to the strength of feeling

Council workers from across UK pack Westminster to tell MPs ‘what’s really happening’ and urge them to Save Our Local Services

Vital local services are collapsing say council staff in UNISON survey

Local government spending cuts have left councils across the UK unable to meet the needs of local communities and, in some cases, are putting the public at risk, says UNISON today (Monday). A survey, released to coincide with the union’s local government conference, reveals that eight in ten (79%) council workers have no confidence in […]

photo of iceberg

The continuing crisis in Northamptonshire

Special report: County council’s financial crisis could be the tip of an iceberg warns union

Join UNISON on SOS Day and fight back against library cuts

Are you ready for this week’s Save Our local Services campaign day, celebrating and defending our library service?

SOS Day for libraries

Our Save Our Services campaign day of action on 19 October this year focuses on libraries – a hub and a haven in our communities offering a place for people to work, relax, discover and think

The issue

21,000 local government workers were surveyed in June 2018 and it showed services are overstretched and neighbourhoods are in decline, residents are at risk and staff are at breaking point. See here for full results

Since 2010, Westminster has cut funding for council services to breaking point. According to the National Audit Office* government funding for local authorities in England has fallen by an estimated 49% (in real terms) from 2010-11 to 2017-18. Northamptonshire County Council effectively declared itself bankrupt earlier this year. And it is expected that 30 other councils are so short of funding from Westminster that they will empty their financial reserves by 2022.

Many councils have tried to manage severe cuts and keep services running by shortening opening hours, introducing charges, merging, privatising or closing services and cutting jobs.

Cuts to local services have made everyday life more difficult for groups who are more likely to rely on council services regularly, like women, older people, disabled people and those on lower incomes. There are now 1 million people with an unmet need for social care because councils do not have the funds to support them.

Councils have had to cut so many vital services that they have now reached a point where vulnerable children and the elderly struggle to get the help that they need, and entire communities are suffering.

What does the future hold?

We can’t keep cutting the services we need just because Westminster won’t give local councils the money they need to run our services for us. Right now it is difficult to know exactly what the future holds for funding public services but many councils still face a black hole in their budgets. They will inevitably look to cuts in local services to fill the gaps.
But the Government is looking weak. It becomes clearer day-by-day that people have had enough of cuts – from libraries closing and youth services being dismantled, to roads in disrepair and closures to childrens’ services. This is the ideal time to make a stand for better funded local services.
Without more investment services will continue to be overstretched and neighbourhoods will fall into decline.

What can we do to save our local services?

UNISON wants local services that continue the long tradition of councils as the bedrock of our communities, with proper funding so that services are secure for the long-term.
At the moment, many councils pay a proportion of the business rates that they collect to the Government. UNISON is calling for this money – billions of pounds – to be handed back to local councils to help repair some of the damage done to local services.

UNISON is calling on the Government to:

  • End the cuts to council funding and allow local authorities to provide the services our communities need
  • Use the November 2018 Budget to re-invest the money it currently retains from Business Rates revenue and put it back into local council funding.
  • Put a stop to wasting money by privatising council services and bring those services back under democratic control.

*NAO report the financial sustainability of local authorities 2018. In Scotland, the financial settlement for local government at the start of the year saw councils across Scotland left needing an extra £375m just to stand still in 2018/19. In Wales, councils face a shortfall in funding for the next two years.