Most English councils expect to slash budgets next year, NAO warns

The majority of local authorities in England plan to make further budget cuts next year following the Covid-19 pandemic, a stark new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) warns.

Some 94 per cent of councils told researchers that they expect to cut spending next year to meet legal duties to balance their budgets. Meanwhile, just a fifth (20 per cent) of councils said they felt able to return budgets to pre-pandemic levels within the next two years. Local authorities are estimated to have been hit with £9.7bn of extra cost pressures relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, between March and December last year.

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