As if councils didn’t already have enough to contend with, they are now facing a barrage of criticism over charging.
Previously, the Government indicated that local authorities should further explore opportunities to generate income so long as this was not exploiting the public. Faced with unprecedented cuts in resources, many authorities have done exactly that. Indeed, only a couple of months ago communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles cited APSE’s examples of local authority MOT stations providing a service to the public and undertaking tree inspections for private businesses for insurance purposes on national radio and flagged up a link to our web pages on the topic.
This first six months of 2011 is likely to be the toughest period for local government in a generation, with the impact of the cuts becoming all too real. Redundancies, wage freezes and higher than anticipated inflation mean morale will plummet as the local government workforce knows it is being targeted unfairly to pay for the sins of others. A growing tide of resentment will lead to support for protests and perhaps industrial action.