End to Austerity?

Friday 5 October 2018

It will soon be ten years since David Cameron declared that the: "Age of irresponsibility is giving way to the age of austerity". The austerity programme was initiated in 2010, since which time organisations delivering vital services to communities have faced tough challenges and difficult decisions. At the same time, it has also led them to embrace the risks posed by large funding cuts and to take forward some ambitious change programmes, while focusing on supporting their communities. 

Eight years down the line we are certainly seeing the effects of sustained funding pressures. The NHS is celebrating 70 years since its formation in 1948, celebrations that are somewhat muted by continual reports of the institution being at breaking point. Local authorities too are feeling the pressure, probably most highlighted by the issues at Northamptonshire County Council. However, adult social care provision is believed to be at near breaking point and the extreme hot weather over the summer will have been a particular pressure on the vulnerable. And, ahead of the Autumn Statement, a number of people are expecting a further increase in the Insurance Premium Tax, potentially adding further pressure on budgets.

So what next? Well it was welcome news from the prime minister when she told the Conservative Party conference: "Because you made sacrifices, there are better days ahead. A decade after the financial crash people need to know that the austerity it led to is over."  Theresa May also announced that the Government cap on how much councils can borrow to build new homes was being scrapped. With these announcements, it will be interesting to hear what the Chancellor has to say in his budget speech later this month.


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