CIPFA clashes with government over council spending

by Rose Orlik

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06 Jul 2011

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PUBLIC ACCOUNTANCY institute CIPFA has clashed with the government over its interpretation of council spending in the wake of budget cuts.

The Department for Communities and Local Government highlighted the net current expenditure figure – down 2.6% to £118.1bn – to illustrate lower spending in local government. Meanwhile, Cipfa chose to underline the fall in total service expenditure, a drop of 5.7% to £99.5bn, the Local Government Chronicle reports.

CIPFA said it chose this measure because it best reveals "the impact of council spending on services", but a CLGD spokesman countered: "Service expenditure only includes part of the expenditure local authorities need to finance, whereas net current expenditure covers all aspects of current expenditure going through local authorities."

Both parties agree that council spending has fallen since austerity bit: local authorities in the north-west and north-east made the biggest cuts – 7.8% and 6.9% respectively – while councils in the south-east (excluding London) reduced the least at 3.2%.

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