Local government, austerity localism, financial resilience, and perceived vulnerability in England

Dom, B.K. ORCID: 0000-0002-0889-2571, Murphy, P. ORCID: 0000-0001-8459-4448, Jones, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-0802-6470 and Collins, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-9805-9091, 2024. Local government, austerity localism, financial resilience, and perceived vulnerability in England. In: International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM), Tampere, Finland, 15-18 April 2024.

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The persistent reduction of central funding and a rise in demand for services has increased the operational and financial burden on Local Authorities (LAs) (Bovaird et al., 2023; Carstensen et al., 2022). This longitudinal study used a unique 15-year quantitative dataset drawn from UK Government MHCLG data, together with data visualisation and a series of elite interviews to analyse the pressures that emerged from the impacts of austerity on LAs in England, across three distinct eras (pre-austerity, early austerity, and late austerity). Using England as a case study, this research used Barbera et al.’s (2017) financial resilience framework to help understand the impacts of austerity (and shocks from other disruptive events) and their relationship with the perceived vulnerability of LAs.

The study also identifies three broad categories of pressures – financial, structural, and service pressures – that emerged during the early and late austerity eras in response to the significant reductions in central government support and increased demand for public services. The research found significant overall reductions in all service areas in all parts of England, with the notable exception of social services and welfare payments, which have consistently and significantly increased. As a result, the financial resilience of LAs has weakened, and the perceived vulnerability has increased, trends that are likely to continue unless there are radical changes to the central government’s approach to local governments’ financial support.

Item Type: Conference contribution
Creators: Dom, B.K., Murphy, P., Jones, M. and Collins, A.
Date: April 2024
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 29 Apr 2024 08:20
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2024 08:20
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/51353

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