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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The impact of the credit crunch

Interesting article in yesterday's Times regarding the impact of the economic downturn on local councils:

One in four councils in England has reported an increase in homelessness and more than half have experienced a rise in housing benefit claimants as the recession bites.

A snapshot survey also shows that the demand for free school meals and state school places has shot up, and more people have sought help for mental health problems.

The study carried out at the end of last year shows the extent to which the downturn is affecting demand for a range of public services. Almost all authorities who were contacted expect the situation to get much worse in the next few months as more people lose their jobs and homes.

At the same time one in seven councils is making redundancies and one in four has a recruitment freeze. Nearly 75 per cent have already revised their budgets for the current year, mainly because of a loss of income from service and planning charges.

I would guess that there has been a similar impact in Wales, which makes it all the more important that local Councils are given the resources to deal with this additional demand on their services. It is perverse that authorities are having to trim back frontline delivery because of financial pressures at a time when they are needed the most.
"I would guess that there has been a similar impact in Wales..."

Don't think so Peter, it's going to be much, much worse in Wales, boom times in Wales are like bust times in Surrey!
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