Posted tagged ‘Rob Dale’

That was the local government week that was

February 3, 2012

Did anything happen?

This week on the blog we have looked at officer neutrality, council websites, local government managers and the balance between working in local government and having a young family.

‘But what else has been happening in the on-line world of local government?’ I hear you ask; well, quite a lot. So without further ado:

It’s no secret that the cuts made by the Government are going to have a major impact on those councils in poorer areas but stories like this one from the Independant really do bring it home:

London and the North of England have been especially badly hit by the cuts, according to research by the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

“Overall cuts in local government spending (excluding education) are largest in both absolute and proportionate terms in the high-spending regions of London, the North East and the North West,” said the IFS in its 2012 Green Budget – a precursor to the Chancellor’s Budget each spring.

Average cuts in London between 2009-10 and 2011-12 were equivalent to £221 per person or 11.2 per cent. Cuts in the North East were equivalent to £169 per person, or 12.6 per cent. In the North West, the average cut was £156 per person, or 12 per cent.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies was also in the news this week when they suggested that the Government’s reform of the pension system was not actually going to save the Government any money over the next 20 years. As the Telegraph explained it:

The institute concludes: “In general, lower earners in the public sector will actually get a more generous pension as a result of the recently announced reforms. That is, they will be able to retire at age 65 with a higher annual pension than they would receive under current arrangements. Conversely, higher earners are likely to lose out.”

There are two real lessons from this. Firstly, the lesson that every local government manager knows; before you get any sign off for a project make sure that your costing of the project is correct.

Secondly, it is amazing how much bad information has infected the debate. The Government were trying to convince everyone that this change was an absolute necessity when it wasn’t and the Unions were actively campaigning against a policy which eventually ended up benefiting the poorest workers and reducing the benefits of the highest paid. When you put it like that it almost seems the wrong way round!

(more…)