‘Spend red-tape money on front line’

 The chair of the Local Government Association has called on the government to reduce civil service bureaucracy and divert any savings made to front-line services.

Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart made his remarks as an LGA survey showed English councils were struggling to keep council tax increases down without cutting services.

He pointed out that many councils with social services responsibilities had received grant increases of 2 per cent or less, and said the government’s settlement had included no funding for demographic changes such as more vulnerable elderly people.

Bruce-Lockhart said: “There is £2.5bn spent on civil servants issuing directives and guidance, prescribing performance indicators, overseeing bid funding schemes and regulating and inspecting councils.” He added that by cutting down on bureaucracy, the money saved could then be “ploughed back into front-line services.”

The LGA’s survey of 112 local authorities’ council tax found the average increase in England would be around 4 per cent.

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