Council Spending Uncovered No. 5: The Ten Percent Challenge

April 27, 2008 11:42 PM

  • TAXPAYERS' ALLIANCE THROWS DOWN GAUNTLET TO COUNCILS
  • WITH SIMPLE AND MODEST SAVINGS COUNCIL TAX CAN BE CUT BY 3.5%, WHICH IS £40 OFF THE AVERAGE BAND D BILL
  • INDIVIDUAL DETAILS FOR HUNDREDS OF COUNCILS SHOWS SIMPLE SAVINGS IN PUBLICITY, MANAGEMENT AND PENSION COSTS

Ahead of the local elections on May 1st, this fifth Council Spending Uncovered paper brings together the previous papers which revealed large amounts of spending poured into publicity, middle and senior management and gold-plated pensions, and issues councils of all parties across England and Scotland with a simple challenge:

If councils cut publicity, management and pension costs by just 10 per cent, they can cut council tax by an average of 3.5 per cent, or around £40 off an average Band D bill.

This is the TaxPayers' Alliance "Ten Per Cent Challenge".

KEY FINDINGS:

  • In 2006-07, councils in England and Scotland spent over £400 million on publicity, £1.9 billion employing managers earning over £50,000 and over £4.3 billion on employer pension contributions. The total of the three expenditures is therefore £6.6 billion.
  • Saving just 10% on those three areas alone would therefore reduce expenditure by £660 million.
  • In the same year, council tax collected in England and Scotland totalled £18.7 billion (excluding Fire and Police precepts). Saving £660 million from that total would allow councils to reduce council tax by 3.5%.
  • The average Band D council tax bill in 2006-07 (including both the district and county council where relevant but excluding the GLA and Fire and Police precepts) was just over £1,100. A 3.5% reduction would equal around £40.

The full report, which can be found here, provides detailed breakdowns for the savings that can be made by each local authority in England and Wales.

Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“Council tax has doubled in the last decade and is now so high that it tips many families and pensioners over the edge.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Local authorities of all parties could make meaningful council tax reductions if they saved a modest 10 per cent in these three non-priority areas.”

Andrew Allum, Chairman of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“These 10 per cent savings could easily be achieved if local authorities focused resources on the real priorities.  We hear repeatedly that councils are cash-strapped, but there is a lot they can do to reduce costs, cut council tax and better serve their local residents.”

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