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Councils in Crisis

Some local councils are embarking on risky new ventures in order to plug funding gaps. While some are profiting, others are losing public money, so what is the effect on services?

There's a quiet revolution going on in our Town Halls. With funding slashed, Local Government is tasked with finding new ways to raise money and deliver services, or face failing to comply with its legal obligations. As councils in England are tasked with becoming more self sufficient, File on 4 examines the different approaches councils are taking in an effort to balance the books.

As some invest in commercial property others are spinning off traditional council departments into new companies with commercial divisions. The aim is to plough profits back into services.

But as the programme discovers these plans don't always work out. What happens when there is no profit? As the pressure on adult social care grows, some councils now face the twin struggles of meeting demand, with the need to turn a profit. Is this too much of a gamble in services which can mean the difference between life and death?

Allan Urry investigates the scale of the challenge as local authorities grapple with rising demand, falling income, and new ways of doing business.

Reporter: Allan Urry
Producer: Laura Harmes.

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38 minutes

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Some local councils are embarking on risky new ventures in order to plug funding gaps. While some are profiting, others are losing public money, so what is the effect on services?

Read the transcript

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