Tony Kirkham

Tony Kirkham

  • Counting the cost of the Universal Credit cut

    05 October 2021

    Tony Kirkham says that by mid-August nearly 36,000 residents in Newcastle were on Universal Credit. Today's withdrawal of the £20 per week uplift 'will have a significant impact on these families – 36% of which are currently in work', he adds.


  • Time to rethink going back to work

    13 July 2021

    There is a real appetite to work differently post-pandemic, says Tony Kirkham. Instead of rushing back to the office, we should take the opportunity to think about the future


  • The Times They Are a-Changin’

    02 June 2021

    Section 151 officers are all still trying to work out what scarring there will be to finances as a result of the pandemic, and what course recovery will take to what will be a new normal, says Tony Kirkham.


  • One eye on the data, the other on the future

    09 March 2021

    Tony Kirkham explains why the delivery of this year's budget at Newcastle City Council will be the most difficult one he has worked on in his 32 year career.


  • Some light at the end of the tunnel

    27 January 2021

    With the vaccine providing some grounds for optimism, 'maybe this is the time to look back at the lessons to learn and look forward', says Tony Kirkham.


  • All I want for Christmas

    24 November 2020

    As an early Christmas present Tony Kirkham would like 'a clear and positive Comprehensive Spending Review which adequately reflects the demands on local government'. And he would like 'a local government settlement that allows us to meet the needs of our residents and businesses'.


  • Remove the ring fences

    13 October 2020

    Councils are prevented from focusing on key priorities due to ringfences or restrictions on things such as the housing revenue account, says Tony Kirkham. If these were eased temporarily, councils could act in a more agile way, he adds.


  • Blood out of stone

    02 September 2020

    Opportunities to drive out further efficiencies from councils lie in prevention and integration, but 'will take time and investment and is unlikely to deliver any benefits until the back end of the Spending Review at the earliest', says Tony Kirkham.


  • Most councils will find a way to balance their books

    21 July 2020

    What the sector will be announcing in the coming months are cuts to spending plans, says Tony Kirkham - meaning reduced services and jobs at the time when they should be supporting people and businesses.


  • Please sir, I want some more

    09 June 2020

    After suffering starvation for three months with his companions, Oliver Twist said: ‘Please sir, I want some more.’ Likewise, as a sector, local government must continue to ask for more, says Tony Kirkham.


  • Our first responsibility is to be a good ancestor

    20 May 2020

    We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with Government and trust that the original commitment to ensuring councils have ‘whatever it takes’ will stand, says Tony Kirkham.


  • The show must go on

    29 April 2020

    Tony Kirkham says that without the full backing of Government, and the surety that the money needed for the pandemic emergency will be there, 'then we will have to realign our decisions and actions within the financial restraints'.


  • God is in the detail

    18 March 2020

    Tony Kirkham says if councils can approach the challenges of COVID-19 with the spirit and professionalism they are renowned for, the sector can move into the detailed analysis to deliver a Spending Review that benefits citizens in the medium-term.


  • The positive process of peer review

    06 February 2020

    Tony Kirkham recently took part in a Local Government Association peer review. He says the process was intensive and hard work - but he 'enjoyed every minute'.


  • Friday the 13th

    04 December 2019

    Friday the 13th is usually seen as an unlucky day, says Tony Kirkham - but he hopes the next one is 'the first step on a safe transition, starting with a budget settlement which leads to a sustainable future for local government'.


  • Investment is at risk from borrowing hike

    23 October 2019

    Increasing the interest rate on borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board puts much-needed investment at risk and to do it without consultation doesn't say much for the relationship between local government and the Treasury, says Tony Kirkham.


  • What's the demand for children's social care?

    11 September 2019

    In the North-East there has been a 55.7% growth in the average number of looked after children per 10,000 between 2009 and 2018. Tony Kirkham says the biggest single driver of demand would seem to be Universal Credit.


  • A stitch in time

    24 July 2019

    English cities are trying to deal with the impact of austerity, says Tony Kirkham. But he concludes that 'applying the old proverb "a stitch in time, saves nine" may prove wise and extremely valuable'.


  • The art of budgeting

    12 June 2019

    We need to know what extra money we are going to get in the Spending Review, not just a continuation of funding streams such as the Improved Better Care Fund (IBCF), says Tony Kirkham.


  • How much is enough?

    30 April 2019

    If the inquiry into local government funding can establish councils need funding not only to meet their statutory requirements but also to meet the needs of their residents this could be a major step forward, argues Tony Kirkham