Councils in London spend more per head

25 January 2017
What was claimed

Per head, spending by local councils is up to 40% lower across regions outside of London.

Our verdict

That's correct.

“Historic per capita spending in our regions, including Yorkshire, when compared to London is up to 40% lower for our local authorities...”

Kevin Hollinrake MP, 25 January 2017

That’s correct.

HMRC statistics show that more money gets spent per head on public services in London than anywhere else in England.

From 2012/13 to 2014/15, local councils outside London spent about 35% less per head than those in the capital.

Councils in the South West spent the least in England. On average they spent about 40% less per head than London councils.

Not all spending by the government comes via councils, and if we look at government spending overall the difference seems about half as stark. People outside London received about 14% less public spending per head than Londoners overall.

The comparison only covers ‘identifiable expenditure’money that’s obviously set to benefit a particular region.

Some public spending can’t be split up between different regions (defence spending is often used as an example) and other spending is a bit ambiguous.

For example, in the past we’ve looked into statistics on transport infrastructure spending and found they’re pretty imperfect. It’s not always clear what public money is earmarked for which regions, or how well this reflects the different needs of different areas.

Finally, there will be a difference between how much councils spend and how much they get from the central government. It’s possible that those outside London might get relatively more in grants but have less capacity to raise revenue locally. We’ll look into this in more detail.

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