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Parks And Leisure Centres Under Threat As Ageing Population Swallows Council Budgets

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Telgraph 28/10/14

'Thousands of libraries, parks and leisure centres could come under threat as councils are forced to consider unprecedented cuts to prevent the elderly care system collapsing, town hall chiefs are warning.

A new analysis of council budgets concludes that the amount of cash available for services other than adult social care and bin collection will plunge by almost half by the end of this decade as they attempt to keep up with the impact of the ageing population.

The study by the Local Government Association predicts that a £4.3 billion black hole will open up in social care budgets by the end of this decades because of the combined effect of funding cuts and demographic changes.

The projected shortfall is the equivalent of almost a third of the current total budget for adult social care in England, the LGA’s “State of the Nation” report estimates.

But it predicts that the effects could be felt as early as next year when basic local services may have to be “scaled back significantly” as councils scramble to balance the books while implementing reforms of the care system.

Councils are legally required to provide social care and other essential services such as rubbish collection and are banned from running up a deficit.

It means that they are increasingly being forced to divert cash from so-called “discretionary” services such as maintaining parks and running leisure centres to maintain essential services.

The study calculates that local authorities have seen their overall funding effectively reduced by 40 per cent since the beginning of the austerity measures in 2010.

Councils have collectively managed to maintain spending on social care at £14.6 billion this year (up from £14.4 billion in 2010).

But this masks a growing shortage because of the ageing population and rapid increases in the numbers of disabled people, which together are pushing up the cost of maintaining the care system by £400 million a year.

Collectively councils have made “savings” of £3.5 billion from care budgets by switching to cheaper suppliers, slashing services deemed less essential, such as meals-on-wheels, and rationing care only to those in the most severe need.

This means that, despite greater need than ever, the total number of people receiving care organised through their local council has actually fallen by almost five per cent.

The report, which weighs up various different sources council funding and cost pressures, concludes that the care system will cost £16.8 billion to maintain by 2020 but with only £12.5 billion in available funding – a £4.3 billion shortfall.

In order to plug the gap, councils are likely to cut spending on services such as parks and libraries from £26.6 billion at the start of the austerity programme to just £15 billion by 2020 – a drop of 44 per cent.

It warns that councils could reach a tipping point in the next 12 months as the impact of cuts already absorbed and those expected to come take their toll.

“Put simply, LGA research shows that 2015-16 is shaping up to be the year in which services may need to be scaled back significantly, with service reductions accounting for a higher proportion of required savings than efficiencies,” it warns.

Cllr David Sparks, chairman of the LGA, said: “Councils have worked incredibly hard to prioritise adult social care at a time when councils have had to find over £3.5 billion pounds worth of savings in their adult social care budgets.

“This has still not been nearly enough to close the funding gap. In just six months, councils are expected to bring in crucial changes to make care better for everyone.

“The clock is now ticking for government to get the funding right to make sure these do not fail before they have even begun.

“The Government should not be knowingly backing councils into a corner where they have to make impossible decisions about cutting other important services just to continue to manage caring and supporting our most vulnerable.

“We can’t stress enough the impact this will have on communities, and of course we must start asking the question about what happens when we have made all of the efficiencies and there are no more services to cut.

“Next year will be a make or break moment for adult social care, for local services provided by councils and for the NHS.”'

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This is already happening, In Leeds 2 municipal golf courses are to be closed for ever within 6 months , so many football/cricket fields have been sold off for so called development Ive lost count, we used to have around15 years ago around 40 divisions off weekend football were down to around 14 now with clubs resigning on a weekly basis due to the high rental costs, not to mention the bowling greens that are disappearing etc etc.

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Just to save the usual suspects from typing it:

Austerity is a myth

No cuts have been made in councils

I know someone on £170k a year whose job title is "LBGT citizen engagement officer" and another who gets £90k a year as a part-time union officer.

We could save the money by cutting all salaries over £20k a year by 90%

95% of council tax goes to pay for boomer pensions

Any I've missed?

All the councils I work at have had 40% budget cuts and reduced head count significantly. One thing I would say though is those at the top have been "looked after" whilst those at the bottom have been completely shafted.

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This is already happening, In Leeds 2 municipal golf courses are to be closed for ever within 6 months , so many football/cricket fields have been sold off for so called development Ive lost count, we used to have around15 years ago around 40 divisions off weekend football were down to around 14 now with clubs resigning on a weekly basis due to the high rental costs, not to mention the bowling greens that are disappearing etc etc.

I'm sure all of those people are doing something else to keep fit.....

High costs of housing priced out local football?

The welfare costs are going to sink the economy, it's just unaffordable. However living in a 6 figure house is perfectly sustainable.

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Guest Jemmy Button

Councils - whenever I hear that word, I instantly think of juicy mouth watering eye popping pensions and golden handshakes. What a cushy number they're on...

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Why not introduce new higher council tax bands to pay for this? could also remove free buss passes, tv license, winter heating allowance.

Basically councils and the government are spending too much on old people, time to tax them and cut back spending on them.

Why not introduce a bus tax?

Higher tax on over 65's car insurance?

Emergency pensions tax?

Give me an hour I could think of another 50 taxes we could remove from the young and apply to the old. Discounts for the over 65's are hikes to the young - this includes B&Q 10-% off on wednesdays which is really a 10% price hike for non-pensioners.

Edited by Wurzel Of Highbridge

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The current over 65's have had a great standard of living, the best of everything, great health care, good food, all the wonders science has had to offce too. Best of all they never had to go to war.

This is probably why there are just too many of them.

Solution.

Codger War 1

We shall fight them on the (park) benches.

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I don't see any oldies complaining about this

They had libraries and services

Not they don't give a sh@t about later generations going without

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In the end, you'll have to pay council tax, but there'll be no services provided.

You can always creatively account your income so you don't have to

Appears mostly justifiable now too

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Due to aging population?

Nothing to do with the blanket 30% cut to local government then?

It never fails to amuse me how the sheeple consistently swallow the line that we cannot afford the things we could afford back in the 60s and 70s when the Country was a lot poorer.

Of course, back then, 'Executives' earned 5-10 times the average wage instead of 100 - 200 times, the banksters gambling debts were not covered by general taxes and the family doctor and school headmaster earned double the average wage not 10 times.

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Due to aging population?

Nothing to do with the blanket 30% cut to local government then?

It never fails to amuse me how the sheeple consistently swallow the line that we cannot afford the things we could afford back in the 60s and 70s when the Country was a lot poorer.

Of course, back then, 'Executives' earned 5-10 times the average wage instead of 100 - 200 times, the banksters gambling debts were not covered by general taxes and the family doctor and school headmaster earned double the average wage not 10 times.

By 30% cuts, you mean they cut the increases by 30%?

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My Local Council has some detail of what it spends money on and the levels of spending on staff pensions and services for the old is disgraceful.

I live in a poor area in Scotland and the salaries paid to some council officials must dwarf those of the local (non-state) workers by a factor of 2:1 or more.

I feel sorry for the lower paid members who are having to make ends meet. The managers have secured themselves above inflation pay-rises for years on the back of their "performance".

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Due to aging population?

Nothing to do with the blanket 30% cut to local government then?

It never fails to amuse me how the sheeple consistently swallow the line that we cannot afford the things we could afford back in the 60s and 70s when the Country was a lot poorer.

Of course, back then, 'Executives' earned 5-10 times the average wage instead of 100 - 200 times, the banksters gambling debts were not covered by general taxes and the family doctor and school headmaster earned double the average wage not 10 times.

Was reading something yesterday stating that if welfare had continued as it was in the 60's/70's then the govt would be spending even more as a % of GDP than they do now.

However as Kindleberger states when you move to a financial economy, the rich get richer and the poor poorer.

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My Local Council has some detail of what it spends money on and the levels of spending on staff pensions and services for the old is disgraceful.

I live in a poor area in Scotland and the salaries paid to some council officials must dwarf those of the local (non-state) workers by a factor of 2:1 or more.

I feel sorry for the lower paid members who are having to make ends meet. The managers have secured themselves above inflation pay-rises for years on the back of their "performance".

In the past, differentials had to be maintained.

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Why not introduce new higher council tax bands to pay for this? could also remove free buss passes, tv license, winter heating allowance.

Basically councils and the government are spending too much on old people, time to tax them and cut back spending on them.

Why not introduce a bus tax?

Higher tax on over 65's car insurance?

Emergency pensions tax?

Give me an hour I could think of another 50 taxes we could remove from the young and apply to the old. Discounts for the over 65's are hikes to the young - this includes B&Q 10-% off on wednesdays which is really a 10% price hike for non-pensioners.

Didn't Andy Burnham come up with a £70,000 death tax, also as an insurance against paying residential care home fees. Not sure about the care home insurance bit......but a death tax makes absolute sense to me when each departing soul has been on a £250,000 smash and grab raid to be paid by the unborn. Not popular with spoilt man and woman child who expect to inherit the lot though.

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You can always creatively account your income so you don't have to

Appears mostly justifiable now too

You can't do that unless you are a pensioner.

You could become a student, but you'd have to take on a large amount of student debt to do so or pay out large sums, and you couldn't do this forever.

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Of course, back then, 'Executives' earned 5-10 times the average wage instead of 100 - 200 times, the banksters gambling debts were not covered by general taxes and the family doctor and school headmaster earned double the average wage not 10 times.

I haven't had time to check all your figures. I've only checked the one which interested me.

However, in the mid 60s, the average doctor salary was 5.5x the average salary (gross) or about 4.2x (net - married, 2 children).

Today it is about 3.7x (gross) or 2.9x (net - as above inc. tax credits, no childcare)

We have seen 2 big changes in earing over the last 40-50 years. 1 - Concentration at the low end, middle and mid-upper ranges - average wage is barely 70% higher (gross) than take home @ minimum wage, going down to 50% (net) and 10% (inc. tax credits, same assumptions as above). Similarly, skilled workers like teachers and nurses who in the 60s would earn approx 2x the average wage, now earn barely 20% more than average (and after tax/tax credits, there is very little meaningful difference).

2 - Explosion of wages of the top 1%, or more precisely, the top 0.5%.

Edited by ChumpusRex

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Why not introduce a bus tax?

Higher tax on over 65's car insurance?

Emergency pensions tax?

Give me an hour I could think of another 50 taxes we could remove from the young and apply to the old. Discounts for the over 65's are hikes to the young - this includes B&Q 10-% off on wednesdays which is really a 10% price hike for non-pensioners.

How do any of those things relate to Councils?

Edited by darwin

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You can't do that unless you are a pensioner.

You could become a student, but you'd have to take on a large amount of student debt to do so or pay out large sums, and you couldn't do this forever.

Yes, I looked into council tax benefit or whatever it's called, you have to declare unfesably low income to make it worthwhile.

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Due to aging population?

Nothing to do with the blanket 30% cut to local government then?

It never fails to amuse me how the sheeple consistently swallow the line that we cannot afford the things we could afford back in the 60s and 70s when the Country was a lot poorer.

Of course, back then, 'Executives' earned 5-10 times the average wage instead of 100 - 200 times, the banksters gambling debts were not covered by general taxes and the family doctor and school headmaster earned double the average wage not 10 times.

+1 end of thread

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Why not introduce new higher council tax bands to pay for this? could also remove free buss passes, tv license, winter heating allowance.

Basically councils and the government are spending too much on old people, time to tax them and cut back spending on them.

Why not introduce a bus tax?

Higher tax on over 65's car insurance?

Emergency pensions tax?

Give me an hour I could think of another 50 taxes we could remove from the young and apply to the old. Discounts for the over 65's are hikes to the young - this includes B&Q 10-% off on wednesdays which is really a 10% price hike for non-pensioners.

I'm getting old. I vote No. :P

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Why don't they start charging the elderly for using Leisure Centres? For crying out loud, if you're 60, you have access to council owned facilities for free. The days of hard up pensioners are long gone, pension credits and the socialist state have put an end to the hardship.

Really, why should a 60 year old have free access? They're of the working age, and should more than likely have their shit in order, kids grown up or at least helping out, mortgages paid off. I know it could well be a gain votes thing, but it's ridiculous!

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What's a Leisure centre? I've never needed one when I'm at work 6 days a week. <_<

This sounds like when all the council workers go on strike.... nobody would notice if it wasn't on the BBC every 30 seconds.

Just post the name of your local Leisure centre here ... erm.... eh..... it's... it's.... GONE! :lol:

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Why don't they start charging the elderly for using Leisure Centres? For crying out loud, if you're 60, you have access to council owned facilities for free. The days of hard up pensioners are long gone, pension credits and the socialist state have put an end to the hardship.

Really, why should a 60 year old have free access? They're of the working age, and should more than likely have their shit in order, kids grown up or at least helping out, mortgages paid off. I know it could well be a gain votes thing, but it's ridiculous!

Our council gives OAPs a discount on allotments - as they're passing these to be self-managed the legal man says it's optional whether to have this discount continue. Unfortunately for all other allotments they've got it kept in. Idiots. Why should anyone get it cheaper just because of age?

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