Highways and transport sees largest cut in council finances

 

Highways and transport saw the largest cut in funding of any local government service last year, to record a real terms fall of over £1bn in the last five years.

Service expenditure - not including income - in highways and transport fell by £143m, dropping from £3.997bn to £3.854bn between 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, a fall of 3.6%.

”Local

This went against the general trend of local government finance, which saw some tentative signs of relief after a decade of austerity.

The figures suggest that highway authorities are using income from other means such as parking charges to plug the highways and transport gap.

Total service expenditure fell by 0.1% in real terms from 2017-2018; however when excluding education and public health it actually saw a 1.3% rise in real terms and a 3.2% rise in cash terms.

Highways and transport was one of the few areas to have a cash cut in 2018-2019, with public health services down 2.4%, central services down 1.9% and cultural services down 0.9% and education services down 0.1%.

However the Government's provisional outturn figures are net of sales, fees, charges and other income.

Research by the RAC Foundation suggests councils expect to make a record surplus of £885m from parking fees in 2018-2019, with some areas doubling charges.

Local authorities’ total service expenditure was £91.4bn in 2018-19.

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