Poor areas across England and Scotland have suffered larger budget cuts of around £100 per head than affluent ones, a new study has found.
The research found that people living in the North and Midlands were £69 per head worse off than those living in the South of England. Local authorities in deprived areas suffered 21.4% budget cuts, deeper than the 15.8% cuts to affluent authorities.
The findings comes as figures from the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities showed that councils in the North East were set to lose £665 per person on average over 2010 to 2018, over twice as much as South Eastern councils, which are set to lose just £305. Local government spending is set to fall by nearly 30% in real terms between 2008 and 2015, while Scotland will see a 24% reduction.
John Low, Policy and Research Manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “It is clear the cuts are biting deep into the poorest and most deprived communities. Unless we can muster the national will to correct or mitigate the unacceptable divergence of resources between more and less affluent authorities, we are slowly but inexorably creating a more divided society.”
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In response to the JRF study, Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, told the Huffington Post UK: "This research proves again that this government is making the poorest and most vulnerable pay the biggest price for an economic crisis caused by the greed and recklessness of wealthy elites.
However, Tory local government minister Brandon Lewis said the JRF report was "wrong" and peddling "doom and gloom", calling on councils to make "sensible savings".
He said: "The independent House of Commons Library has already shown that deprived areas continue to receive and spend far more funding per household than other parts of the country.
"Councils should be making sensible savings, such as through joint working, cutting fraud, better procurement and tackling tax evasion. Rather than the doom and gloom peddled by the JRF, the latest independent polling shows that the public are more satisfied with town hall services than ever before."