Red Lines

Further Tory Cuts to Hit London Councils


  • London Labour councillors warn Government funding cuts are putting vital services at risk
  • Government set to deliver further £235 million cut to London councils next week
  • London MP and Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government urged to protect services Londoners rely on

Funding cuts imposed by the Tory Government are pushing councils across London to ‘breaking point’, London Labour councillors have warned today (29th November).

At a campaign event in Sidcup – the constituency of Tory MP and Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire MP – Labour councillors from across London, alongside colleagues from the trades union movement, have urged the Government to restore funding to councils to protect vital services.

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 authorities in 2010.[i]
  • By 2020, funding to councils in London will have been cut in real terms by over £4 billion – a cut of 63% in a decade.[ii]
  • London councils are being forced to make further savings of at least £2.1 billion to balance their budgets over the next four years.[iii]

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.[iv]

Despite facing similar gaps in funding for other vital frontline services, like care for older people and tackling homelessness, Tory MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup - James Brokenshire MP, will next week preside over the Local Government Finance Settlement, which is set to hand down further massive cuts to London councils who face further cuts next year (2019/20) of over £235 million.[v]

Ahead of the Local Government Finance Settlement (which will be announced on 6th December), 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 Daniel Francis, Leader of Bexley Labour Group, said: 

“Next week, James Brokenshire is set to preside over further cuts to Bexley Council of over £5 million – that means further cuts of £53 for every household. The Tory Council here is already making devastating cuts to vital services local people rely on, and these cuts will only hurt more people if our own MP doesn’t stand-up for our communities.”

Cllr Margaret McLennan, Chair of London Labour Finance Forum & Deputy Leader of Brent Council, said:

“Over the last decade, London boroughs have seen massive Government cuts to their core funding, and this is putting unsustainable pressures on vital services. It is also having consequences for the NHS, police and schools. Councils across the capital are working extremely hard to protect the services that Londoners rely on, but further cuts from the Government will push more councils towards breaking point.”

Warren Kenny, GMB London Regional Secretary, said:

“GMB are supporting this campaign by Labour councillors because austerity measures are not only threatening our libraries, parks and other council provided services, but are also failing our children, our elderly and our communities. Local government spending has seen bigger cuts than any other parts of the public sector. Mr Cameron said front line services would be protected. This has been a hollow promise. The cuts have now reached the bones of essential services.

"Austerity cuts have led to poverty pay, homelessness and despair for too many GMB members, their families and friends. The billions of pounds in cuts to local councils mean that services cannot be delivered to an adequate quality due to lack of resources. This experiment of cuts, pinching and squeezing by the government has gone far enough for far too long and caused too much harm. Austerity is a political decision by government, and one which they can and should reverse.”

London councils are also worse-off due to the Government’s cuts than councils in 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.[vi] 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 growth 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.[vii]

As part of their campaigning efforts, London Labour councillors have been supporting 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.

Impact of the Tory Government’s further £235 million of cuts to councils in London next year[viii]


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




















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