Protecting the public purse

Tough times 2012

Councils’ financial health in challenging times

These are challenging and uncertain times for councils as they cope with the second year of the four-year Spending Review. The savings needed are lower in 2012/13 than in 2011/12, but the cumulative effect is significant for many.

The report finds that in 2011/12, councils largely delivered their planned savings and in many cases added to reserves. However, auditors reported that signs of financial stress were visible.

A sizeable minority of councils had to make additional in-year cuts, seek additional funding, or restructure efficiency programmes in order to deliver their budgets.

The report says that auditors are concerned that 12 per cent of councils are not well-placed to deliver their 2012/13 budgets. They feel that a further 25 per cent will cope in 2012/13, but may struggle in the remaining years of the Spending Review period.

The report is the second in the Commission’s Tough times series. Read our Tough times 2011 report.


Tough times 2012: Councils’ responses to a challenging financial climate
Methodology and data definitions