Herefordshire Council will need to make savings of over £75 per person over the current financial year in order to balance its books. But it is far from alone in needing to tighten its belt, new research from the BBC Shared Data Unit shows.

It surveyed 218 UK upper-tier local authorities of which 190 responded, reporting that together, they would need to make £2.5 billion of cuts this year, with a further £5.2bn of savings to balance their books by April 2026.

All but 11 of the 190 authorities said they planned to make savings in the current financial year, averaging £13.9 million – a 36 per cent increase over the figure from a similar study two years ago.

Birmingham, Europe’s largest local authority, has already halted all non-essential spending, while Shropshire tops the list for savings as a proportion of total council budget, at 20.1 per cent.

This puts Shropshire’s planned savings per person at £158.26, topped only by Blackpool nationally. Herefordshire’s figure is £75.36, the 70th highest, while neighbouring Powys has the highest figure for Wales, at £123.54.

Herefordshire Council said earlier this year it aimed to save £14.1 million through reduced spending by next April, mostly from the budgets for community wellbeing and its troubled children and young people department.

Herefordshire raised its council tax for this year by 4.99 per cent, the maximum permitted without voter approval. But the BBC figures show it was far from alone in this, with three-quarters of English local authorities increasing their council tax by at least that amount this year.

Local Government Association chair Coun Shaun Davies said councils’ ability to cope with rising spending pressures, and to plan for the longer term, “are being continuously hampered by one-year funding settlements, one-off funding pots and uncertainty due to repeated delays to funding reforms”.