Sorry folks, I know how true all this will ring and reporting it feels a bit like rubbing it in, but it is important to keep track of just how far funding for the important discretionary aspects of local authority spending has fallen, particularly in rural areas. This story tells us:

Libraries, museums and art galleries across England have had their funding slashed by nearly £400m in the past eight years, forcing hundreds to close, The Independent can reveal.

Leaders of county councils, which are mainly Conservative-run, say spending cuts have been made to the arts and education to ensure there is enough funding to provide care for the elderly and the vulnerable.

It comes as Essex County Council plans to close a third of its 74 libraries, while Birmingham City Council is looking to reduce its grants to arts and cultural organisations by nearly 50 per cent.  

Councils will be forced to make even more cuts to cultural services unless more funding is awarded to local authorities for care services in the spending review, county council leaders warn.

Figures reveal that council spending on museums, galleries, libraries, and local arts support has already reduced by more than £390m since 2011.

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