Dr Peter Kenway
Dr Peter Kenway, an economist and statistician, is director and co-founder of the independent think tank the New Policy Institute (www.npi.org.uk). Peter’s work on local government finance covers both where the money comes from and how it’s spent.
Over the last five years, NPI has worked closely with the Manchester-based Association for Public Service Excellence (www.apse.org.uk), looking at the financing of local government and the defence of neighbourhood services across the UK. NPI’s reports for APSE include “Redefining neighbourhoods: A future beyond austerity?” (2017), “Hollowed out: The impact of financial localisation on neighbourhood services” (2018), “Neighbourhood services and sustainable local government” (2019) and “Spending on parks and neighbourhood services in Scotland” (forthcoming).
“A Quiet Crisis: Changes in Local Government spending on disadvantage” (2018), for the Lloyds Bank Foundation (www.lloydsbankfoundation.org.uk), looked at this subject from the point of view of vulnerable service users. “Devolution within Northern Ireland” (2018), for the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (www.nilga.org), looked at the broader question in a very particular context.
NPI has been working on local government finance since the early 2000s when the Government was actively considering the reform of council tax. While there seems no appetite for reform at the moment, reductions in central government financing of local government since 2010 mean that council tax’s importance is greater than ever – as too is the burden the tax represents on low income households as the local schemes of council tax reduction and support continue to retreat.