Shropshire Star

Shropshire Council cuts: How local government reached crisis point and what it means for services

The crisis in local government has long been seen by many as a case of 'the boy who cried wolf'.

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Shropshire Council has this week announced plans to cut £62m from its budget

It is difficult to remember a time when council leaders were not warning of financial crisis and budget pressures, and calling on Westminster to step in and help.

But despite those calls councils kept on going, leaving many immune and tired to the pleas, with successive governments reluctant to focus on the unfashionable world of local government.

That has been until the past two years when a spate of councils across the country have all been forced into the ultimate embarrassment of issuing 114 notices – effectively the council notification of bankruptcy.

But while the declaration comes with a stigma, the reality is the political shame is the least important consequence of a 114 notice.

The biggest issue is the impact on communities, the vulnerable, staff, and long-cherished services that are woven into societies up and down the country, as their councils are forced into drastic cuts - with decision-making taken out of the hands of locally elected representatives.

As Shropshire Council's leader, Councillor Lezley Picton, this week announced the need to cut another £62m from the authority's spending next year she was categoric – the council is not facing the dreaded 114.

But, the reality for Shropshire and councils across the country, is that they either shed multi-millions from their budgets or they really will be facing bankruptcy.