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Local Government Fantasy Finance


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This week we have had the annual cuts claim from Warrington Borough Council. This year they tell us there have been £205million of cuts since 2010 to 2023. The budget for services in 2010 was 136m, inflation since then using the index the government uses has been 42.6%, so the present cost of the 2010 budget would be 194million. But they have had 205m of cuts, now that is impressive but then you find that next years spending power is set at 181.9 million by central government. If you aren't confused you are doing better than me. It's arithmetic but not as we know it!

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205 million over13 years works out at around 16 million per year.

(or half the cost of investing in a dodgy bank.)....🕵️‍♀️

considering the costs of just about everything has risen sharply in recent years then a comparison of what the spending would be at today's prices as compared to 13 years ago shows a difference of 58 million which seems a reasonable amount.

next years spending is down to the usual council guesstimates of how little we can get away with spending on necessary stuff, how much we can get away with spending on 'vanity projects' and how much we need to salt away for 'emergencies' with contingency plans to get that 'emergency' money spent before the next year ends *(around the end of march)* so that they can say "please sir, can we have more"

that is the simplified version as practiced by local and national government the country over.

*usually indicated by a flurry of road works or council house renovations towards the end of the financial year*.....🤦‍♀️


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Do we know how much the council's pensions cost every year? I know the Taxpayers Alliance claims that on average across the UK it's equivalent to about 20% of council tax, but we can take what they say with a pinch of salt. Even so, it's going to be a high figure and worth bearing in mind especially with an ageing population. I expect many people working in local government can expect to be drawing the pension for longer than they were in work. I can live with it in the case of front line staff. Not so much some of the overpaid bufton tuftons. 

On a related note, I reckon the first sign that things are about to unravel at the council could be the sudden retirement of Steven Broomhead. And does anybody know why he still describes himself on LinkedIn as the Interim Chief Executive? 

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In 2021/22 the council's total contribution to the Pension Fund (Employers and Employees) was £ 21,758,536 (Source:Cheshirepensionfund.org Report)

The council tax requirement for 21/22 was £109.926m (Source WBC Accounts)

So the answer in 21/22 was approx. 19.8% of Council Tax was paid in pension contributions, directly and indirectly.


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