LGA statement on BBC research on COVID-19 funding pressures

“We are pleased the Government has indicated it is working on a comprehensive plan to address the ongoing financial challenges councils face this financial year. We urge the Government to bring forward details as soon as possible and ensure it address three key elements of the pressures facing councils."


IFS report into council funding

Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:

“Councils have led local communities across the country through the coronavirus crisis. They are working all day and night to protect the most vulnerable, support local businesses and try and keep normal services running.

“As a result, they continue to face increased cost and demand pressures as a result of COVID-19 at the same time as seeing a significant drop in income that they rely on to fund services. This is unsustainable. Vital emergency funding from government has helped meet extra cost pressures and lost income in recent months but councils will need further funding and financial flexibilities in the weeks and months ahead to meet ongoing COVID-19 pressures and to keep services running normally.

“We are pleased the Government has indicated it is working on a comprehensive plan to address the ongoing financial challenges councils face this financial year. We urge the Government to bring forward details as soon as possible and ensure it address three key elements of the pressures facing councils.

“The loss of business rates and council tax income combined in the past three months accounts for more than half of all income losses for councils over the same period. Any future package of funding measures from government will need to take this into account and provide a solution to cover councils for these losses. The Government must also meet all additional costs councils are incurring as a result of the pandemic and provide a guarantee that it will compensate them for all lost income from fees and charges and other sources.

“Councils have a legal duty to balance their budgets each year and these measures are vital if councils are to avoid taking steps, such as in-year cuts to local services, to cope with funding shortfalls.”