False Economy ran from 2010-2015. This site is no longer being updated, but the False Economy research team continue to report at Sentinel News.
Skip navigation


We’re making a list: council budget and service cuts 2013-2014 and beyond

In this post, we're collating information about proposed budgets, service and jobs cuts, and key dates and information that we're sourcing from council sites and news reports around the country. We'll add to the lists as we collect more information.

You can add details about your council, or changes and updates that you know of in the comments, or by contacting us. Where possible, please quote a source (council budget papers, newspaper articles, union newsletters and papers, etc). You can also add any details of protests and anti-cuts work in your areas, or add that information to our campaigns and protest events pages for promotion: http://falseeconomy.org.uk/campaigns/uk/all/t1.


Many councils around the country have started to publicise and “consult” local people about proposed budgets and projected budget cuts for 2013 and beyond.

The numbers do not make good reading.

Newcastle city council, for example, has announced that it plans to cut its budget by a massive £90m over the next three years – around a third of its total budget and the sort of “savings” that, by definition, must wipe out services and jobs. This Journal story reports that "council chiefs expect money behind all non-care services to run out by 2020."

The Daily Echo has reported that at Southampton, upwards of 300 jobs will be cut and services slashed in Southampton’s "deepest ever council budget cuts." Some £20m is expected to be lost from the council’s budget next year.

George Osborne will make his autumn statement on 5 December. News on council settlements should be received around then. It isn't expected to be good.

This dataset, which was produced by Newcastle city council and appeared in the Guardian last week, shows divides in council funding around the country.

Brighton and Hove city council:

According to this Argus report, schools, bin collections and libraries "could all be in the firing line after forecasts for council cuts nearly doubled in a matter of days," (in late October). Brighton and Hove City Council said that it had been working towards savings for the 2013/14 financial year of about £14 million, but that this figure had rocketed to £25m.

While detailed plans have not yet been drawn up, unions warned likely proposals are:

- Scrapping of about 250 council posts, mostly through voluntary redundancies, agency and temporary staff cuts

- Cutbacks in “frontline” services, such as bin collections, libraries and care for the elderly

- Reductions to support staff in schools, meaning an end to after-school clubs and teaching assistants

Key dates and information:

Initial budget proposals will be published on 22 November. Final budget decisions will be made on 28 February 2013. There's a more detailed list of dates here.

Brighton and Hove city council budget and finance pages: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/index.cfm?request=c1269134

The Argus: http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/10012020.From_bad_to_worse__Council_facing_even_tougher_cuts/

Birmingham city council

Very big numbers being put about here - by far the biggest we've seen so far. We'd be interested in feedback on them.

In this BBC story, Birmingham council leader Al Bore said the authority was looking to cut £600m in total over the six years up to March 2017. The council says it has an immediate challenge for next year - 2013/14 - to save around £120m of the £600m total. http://birminghamnewsroom.com/2012/10/birmingham-city-councils-financial-challenge/

The leader also said that the council could face an additional £60m to £70m of cuts on top of the £120m for 2013 to 2014, depending on reductions in direct government grants.

Key dates and information

Cuts and savings proposals will be released at the beginning of December. There is list of dates for public consultation meetings here.




Protest and response:

See Birmingham Against The Cuts for details of regular protests and challenges to council policy and cuts.

Bolton city council

Bolton says that it must make further savings of £35.6m over the next two years. This council says that this represents a reduction of around 20% in the council’s controllable budget of £178m and follows £60m (highly controversial) savings made by the council over the last two years.

The council also says that since its report was approved in September, it has received "further information from government" which could add between £5m to £10m extra to this "savings requirement."

Key dates and information

The consultion on budget proposals closes on 1 December 2012. We'd post the proposals document, except the link is broken, so we'll upload that when the council sends it to us.



Blackpool council

This Unison report says that union officers have held briefings with the authority and council leader Simon Blackburn to discuss a £13.6m "black hole" in council finances. The report says that the council is working on a three-year budget and has also flagged up a possible £10m deficit in each of the following two years.

The story also that that "the council is working on 289 ‘spending lines’ to identify possible savings and these will be prioritised from 1 to 5, with 1 being ‘no cuts’ to 5 being ‘don’t provide the service’. These detailed spending lines will not be made available to the branch office until late November."

In this 20 November 2012 post, Blackburn says:

"This year, the council looks to make £13.6m in savings resulting in approximately 200 redundancies with an additional 100 posts lost as contracts end... we had to look at reducing significantly parts of the youth service and our customer first centre. Unfortunately people will have to accept that some services will need to be delivered in a different way and some will end or be reduced and there is no hiding from the fact that it will affect our residents.

All of the proposals are of course subject to consultation and every household will be soon be receiving a copy of Your Blackpool with the full details of how they can have their say.”




Key dates and information:

Final cabinet budget setting on 26 February 2013.

Derbyshire county council

The council says that it is "looking at a £125 million budget shortfall over the next five years," and that "for 2013/14, we face a £25 million cut in our spending. That's before meeting any new demands on our services or higher bills."

Residents are invited to participate in setting the budget using this YouChoose tool.

Key dates and information:

To be added




Protest and response:

Derbyshire anti cuts campaign


Liverpool city council

The council says it must find £32m in savings in 2013/2014 and estimates that over the next four years, £143m will have to be saved from a total spend of £480m.

The council says that it may need reduce or stop some services altogether. Options that have or are being considered (the council is looking at proposals in tranches - the latest information on these is here) include a 20% reduction in the staffing budget for the governance, safeguarding, quality and commissioning division of adult services (page 13 of the tranche 2 document) and withdrawal of funding to older persons floating support services (page 19 of tranche 1 options).

Key dates and information

Cuts options will be discussed at the Mayoral Select Committee on Thursday 22 November before going to the Cabinet in December, and full council in January 2013.



Tranche one

Tranche two

Middlesbrough council

Mayor Ray Mallon recently "unveiled" a major list of proposed cuts to council budgets.

The 111 proposals are the first phase in budget reduction which will cut at least £13m from the council's budget for 2013/14.

The council plans to cut budgets by £33m over the next three years - this is on top of the £13.8m from last year.

The council says that the draft proposals - ranging from the closure and disposal of council assets to increased charges and staffing and management restructures - will bring about approximately £11m in savings towards that target, with the loss of up to 220 jobs.

Proposals include:

- Reducing the level and cost of residential placements for looked after children.

- Closing Sunningdale Mental Health Residential Home and purchasing beds from the private sector

- Ceasing to provide transport to school due to a temporary disability on medical grounds

Key dates and information

A six-week public consultation process will run until 3rd December, 2012.





Newcastle city council

Much in the news at the moment, especially around planned library closures and massive job cuts across the council.

According to the council's budget pages, Newcastle city council will need to make cuts of around £90m over the next three years - “which is around a third of our total budget. Inevitably,” the council says, “making savings of this size will have an impact on the services we offer.”

Key dates and information:

The council published its draft budget proposals on 20 November (we'll be going through the list in more detail, so watch this space for further updates). The council says that some 1300 jobs will go over three years as part of "radical restructure." The proposals will be subject to formal approval by cabinet on 28 November, which is soon. Formal consultation will begin then and close in February 2013.




Full list of budget proposals: http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/your-council/budget-and-annual-report/budget-proposals-2016

Salford city council

After a couple of very controversial years of service and budget cuts, the council says it must find a further £60m in savings in the next three years.

In 2013, that means more than £20m - “which is on top of almost £60m in savings made to balance the 2011 to 2012 and 2012 to 2013 budgets.”

Key dates and information:

The budget consultation will end on 14 December 2012.



Southampton city council:

The Daily Echo reports that an estimated 300 jobs will be axed and services slashed in Southampton’s deepest ever council budget cuts, as £20m goes from the council’s budget next year. The story says that children’s services will be hardest hit with £6m of cuts and 126 job losses planned.

The council's own budget documents indicate that it has not yet achieved a balanced budget (page 9).

There is a list of proposed cuts in this document (beginning on page 48 - Appendix 3):

Key dates and information:

To be added.






Sunderland council

http://sunderland-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/chief_executives_1/sppm/corporate/budget2012">In the last three years the council has cut budgets by almost £100m. Further public spending cuts mean that the council is forecasting an additional £30m savings in 2013/14 with more savings required beyond 2014.

Key dates and information:

To be added.



Wirral council

According to this story in the Liverpool Echo, Wirral Council is considering £49m in cuts options for next year to tackle a budget deficit of £39m.

The story says that:

"The options unveiled by chief executive Graham Burgess include axing eight of the 16 childrens’ centres based at primary schools – unless schools take them over – and ending lollipop crossing patrols, unless schools pay for them. "Several hundred" redundancies are also expected from the council.

Two out of three respite homes face closure, day care centres could go to save £2m and charges for social care like meals on wheels could go up."

Wirral Unison says that the projected funding reduction is £100m over the next three years. Wirral Unison has also commented on a draft timeline document which has recently emerged and appears to outline an option to sack staff and re-engage them on new contracts with lesser conditions.

Key dates and information

To be added



Wirral councillors told to shove cuts: http://www.manchestertuc.org/news/1685-wirral-councillors-told-to-shelve-cuts.html


City of York

The council set a two-year budget for 2012 to 2014. On this consultation page, the council says that when funding grants are finalised in December, it “expects further cuts of at least £9 million in 2013/14 and £12 million in 2014/15.” The council says it would have made a total of £63m of savings in just five years.

Key dates and information

Youchoose consultation open until January 2013 http://youchoose.yougov.com/York/

Further dates to be added




(Abusive or off-topic comments will be deleted)



Play video: Why cuts are the wrong cure
VIDEO: Why cuts are the wrong cure