A quiet crisis

This report analyses changes in local authority spending on services relating to disadvantage in England between 2011/12 and 2016/17. The purpose of this research, funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, is to understand to what extent councils have been able to protect spending for the less well-off relative to spending as whole.

The picture that emerges is complicated. The composite measure of spending on disadvantage fell by 2% in real terms over the period of study, whereas overall local authority spending fell by 8%. However, certain areas of spending on disadvantage fell by more, such as on homelessness. In particular, spending on prevention fell to fund crisis relief measures such as temporary accommodation. Cuts to prevention displace problems and might bring higher costs down the line.

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