The Local Government Association has produced a report stressing how hard up Town Halls are as a result of the recession. Some interesting points are included although the full report doesn't seem to be available on the LGA website yet. But I don't think it will persuade many people that Councils operate in the same world as the private sector. The report says the numbers working for Councils have fallen by nearly 7,000 in the past year. Let's suppose the figure is accurate. It's out of a total local government workforce of, I think, about 2.5 million. So the workforce has shrunk by 0.3%. Big deal.

Income from the sale of buildings and land is down about £2.7bn compared to 2007-08, and interest on cash deposits by £1.3bn. But often Councils are postponing selling surplus assets until prices pick up. Councils with debt will benefit from low interest rates.

Presenting the report the Labour councillor Sir Jeremy Beecham said: "The tough economic outlook is forcing Councils to look at every aspect of their finances." I have not always found Sir Jeremy has embraced such an open minded, rigororous approach in the past.

12 comments for: Are Councils really tightening their belts?

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