Red Lines

London Councils at 'Breaking Point' due to Tory Government Cuts


Tory Government funding cuts are pushing councils across London to ‘breaking point’, London Labour council leaders have warned.

Cuts imposed by the Tory Government since 2010 have meant that - 

  • London councils have lost 60p out of every £1 of core funding that the last Labour Government was spending on local government in 2010.
  • By 2020, funding to councils in London will have been cut by over £4 billion (63%).
  • London councils face further cuts next year (2019/20) of over £235 million.

The Government’s cuts come despite rising demand for vital council services, such as emergency support and protection for children. Councils across London recognise the importance of these crucial services, and collectively spent £100 million more than budgeted for last year due to rising demand.

Despite facing similar gaps in funding for other vital frontline services, like care for older people and tackling homelessness, London councils are being forced to make further savings of at least £2.1 billion to balance their budgets over the next four years.

London councils are also worse-off due to the Government’s cuts than other parts of the country, with ‘spending power’ per capita having been cut by 37% in real terms in London, compared to 29% for the rest of England. London’s population is also growing at twice the rate of the rest of England, and a failure of Government funding to keep up with this gwoth has worsened the financial pressures on councils in the capital.

The cuts to boroughs in London are also deeply unfair, as councils in London serve some of the most deprived communities in the country. The Trust for London has found that 27% of Londoners are living in poverty (after housing costs), compared to 21% in the rest of England.

The Tory Government is also clearly imposing cuts to councils in a politically motivated way. Next year’s further cuts of £1.3 billion to councils across the country will see Labour-run councils lose on average over £60 per household, with Tory-run councils losing less than half of that. In London, councils will lose, on average, over £65 per household, as a further £235 million is removed from councils’ core funding in 2019/20.

At a meeting of Labour Leaders of London councils today (16th November) in Camden, councillors joined together to show their support for the Local Government Association Labour Group’s ‘Breaking Point’ campaign. The campaign calls for the Government to - 

  • Reverse next year’s planned £1.3 billion cut to council budgets across the country;
  • Immediately invest £2 billion in children’s services and £2 billion in adult social care to stop these vital emergency services from collapsing;
  • Pledge to use the upcoming Spending Review to restore council funding to 2010 levels over the next four years.

Ahead of the upcoming Local Government Finance Settlement on 6th December, which sets funding allocations for local councils, Labour councillors across London have backed calls for urgent funding to be made available.

Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, said:

“Despite promises from the Prime Minister, it’s clear that Tory austerity is alive and kicking. As a result, councils in London will face further cuts next year. These Government cuts are continuing despite growing demand for vital emergency services that councils provide to Londoners. The Government needs to urgently recognise the financial crisis facing councils in London, and must provide the funding so desperately needed to maintain the essential services our residents and the capital rely on.”

Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council and Leader of London Councils Labour Group, said:

“London is a vibrant and diverse city that delivers a huge amount each year to the national economy. We need public services to match our capabilities and ambition. The recent National Budget did little to put London boroughs in a financially sustainable position.”

Cllr Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council and Deputy Leader of London Councils Labour Group, said:

“London boroughs have experienced core funding cuts of £4 billion this decade. This is putting unprecedented pressure on children’s services, adult social care and housing, impacting people’s lives and having a knock-on effect on the NHS, police and schools. The Government needs to think again.”

Impact of the Tory Government’s further cuts next year to councils in London –


Cut in RSG* 2018/19 to 2019/20

Cut in RSG per household 2018/19 to 2019/20

Barking and Dagenham

































Hammersmith and Fulham





















Kensington and Chelsea



Kingston upon Thames


















Richmond upon Thames**









Tower Hamlets



Waltham Forest












 *RSG = Revenue Support Grant

**Richmond upon Thames Council does not receive RSG funding

Pictured from left to right - Cllr Graham Henson (Harrow), Cllr Lib Peck (Lambeth), Mayor Damian Egan (Lewisham), Cllr Richard Watts (Islington), Cllr Georgia Gould (Camden), Cllr Peter John (Southwark), Cllr Joseph Ejiofor (Haringey), Cllr Julian Bell (Ealing), Mayor John Biggs (Tower Hamlets), Cllr Margaret McLenan (Brent), Cllr Darren Rodwell (Barking & Dagenham), Cllr Simon Hall (Croydon) and Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz (Newham).

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