LGA responds to 2015 Spending Review

Responding to today's Spending Review, Lord Porter, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said: 

"The LGA has long called for further flexibility in the setting of council tax and it is right that Greg Clark and Greg Hands have listened to the concerns set out by local government. Today's announcement on council tax will go some way to allowing a number of councils to raise the money needed to offset some of the cost of social care. The £1.5 billion increase in the Better Care Fund announced today is good news, but it's vital that this is new money and must be spent on adult social care. 

"Today's Spending Review has handed down a difficult £4.1 billion funding cut over this Spending Review period for our residents and comes on top of almost £10 billion in further demand-led cost pressures facing councils by the end of the decade. The consequences for our local communities who will suffer as a result should not be underestimated.

"It is wrong that the services our local communities rely on will face deeper cuts than the rest of the public sector yet again and for local taxpayers to be left to pick up the bill for new government policies without any additional funding.

"Even if councils stopped filling in potholes, maintaining parks, closed all children's centres, libraries, museums, leisure centres and turned off every street light they will not have saved enough money to plug the financial black hole they face by 2020.

"These local services which people cherish will have to be drastically scaled back or lost altogether as councils are increasingly forced to do more with less and protect life and death services, such as caring for the elderly and protecting children, already buckling under growing demand.

"This Spending Review was never about just spending less it was about spending smarter. Local government has led the way at finding innovative ways to save money but after five years of doing so the majority of savings have already made. Tragically, the Government looks set to miss a once in a generation opportunity to transform the way money is spent across the public sector and protect the services that bind communities together, improve people's quality of life and protect the most vulnerable.

"Allowing local government to retain 100 per cent of their business rates income will help councils try to mitigate some of the pressure they face following further funding cuts. While it is positive that the Treasury has worked with us to localise business rates, this is just the start of the journey. We  will continue to work closely with Greg Clark and the DCLG team on the detailed work and consideration that must go into what extra responsibilities councils should take on to ensure we get the best outcome for local communities." 

25 November 2015

Notes

Today's announcement represents a 24 per cent real terms reduction in local government grant funding worth £4.1 billion, this includes the £1.5 billion increase to the Better Care Fund.

Contact

Greg Burns
020 7664 3184
greg.burns@local.gov.uk