The north of England has borne the brunt of austerity cuts imposed since 2010, with the most deprived communities taking the biggest hit.
A new study by the Centre for Cities thinktank shows communities which are enduring the highest poverty rates and weakest economies are facing cuts twice that of their counterparts in the more affluent south.
The report also points to a “city and country” divide, with urban council areas having shouldered cuts to services such as street cleaning, road repairs and libraries, which, are, on average, twice as deep as those borne by leafier authorities.
The Centre for Cities said the Treasury review of public spending due this autumn must find extra funding for all councils, and for urban areas in particular, if authorities are to remain sustainable in the face of soaring demand for social care.
Andrew Carter, the chief executive of Centre for Cities, said: “Councils have managed as best they can but the continued singling out of local government for cuts cannot continue. Fairer funding must mean more funding for cities.”
The five cities and towns that have suffered the biggest falls in spending over the past eight years are from the north of England: Barnsley (-40 per cent), Liverpool (-32 per cent), Doncaster (-31 per cent), Wakefield (-30 per cent) and Blackburn (-27 per cent). The British average is -14.3 per cent.
Liverpool residents have borne the largest spending cuts per head on local services of £816 over the period. The city has lost £441 million in annual spending. Barnsley has had £145 million cut from its annual budget, which is equivalent to £688 a year per head.
London has seen the biggest absolute cuts, with £3.9 billion stripped from spending on services by its 32 boroughs since 2009-10. The Centre for Cities says the capital has shouldered 30 per cent of all local government cuts in Britain, despite having just 16 per cent of the population.
The report comes just months after a UN Special Rapporteur found drastic cuts to social support and welfare risk damaging the very fabric of British society.