Britain’s cities have shouldered the cost of austerity, a study has revealed – with investment in libraries, sport and heritage hit hardest.
Research by think tank Centre for Studies showed an average spending cut of £386 per person in urban areas compared to £172 per head elsewhere.
According to the report, areas in northern England with particularly high rates of poverty bore the brunt of cuts. Hardest-hit Barnsley. where 62 per cent of all 2017-18 council spending went to social care, suffered a 40 per cent decrease in local authority spending since 2009-10. The number of cities spending over half their budgets on social care sits at over 50 per cent, an eight-fold increase.
The report said that the cuts “have combined with a growing demand for social care”, therefore squeezing the budgets of other services while social care spending goes up.
The average spending cut was 20 per cent in northern cities, compared to nine per cent in South-West and South-East cities (excluding London).
The greatest overall spending cut was to sports and recreation, down 72 per cent. Investment in heritage dropped by 57 per cent, and libraries were shown to be receiving 40 per cent less funding.