LGA responds to Autumn Statement

LGA media release - 23 November 2016

Responding to the Autumn Statement, Lord Porter, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:

"Councils, the NHS, charities and care providers have been clear about the desperate need for the Chancellor to take action to tackle the funding crisis in social care. It is unacceptable that this has not been addressed in the Autumn Statement.

"The Government must take urgent action to properly fund social care if councils are to stand any chance of protecting the services which care for the elderly and vulnerable. Extra council tax-raising powers will not bring in enough money to alleviate the pressure on social care and councils will not receive the vast majority of new funding in the Better Care Fund until the end of the decade. Services supporting our elderly and vulnerable are at breaking point now.

"It is good news for local government that the Autumn Statement has accepted our call for measures to boost affordable housebuilding, which must be supported by adequate infrastructure, and which help councils tackle some of the nation's roads repair backlog and improve broadband.

"The next few years will be extremely challenging for councils who we estimate face an overall £5.8 billion funding gap by 2020. Even if councils stopped filling in potholes, maintaining parks and open spaces, closed all children's centres, libraries, museums, leisure centres, turned off every street light and shut all discretionary bus routes they will not have saved enough money to plug this gap by the end of the decade.

"Many councils are faced with difficult decisions about which services are scaled back or stopped altogether. The Government must allow local government to use the extra business rates income it will keep by 2020 to plug this growing funding gap.

"The ability to fix longer-term funding settlements has been important for councils and something we have long called for. Given the majority of councils have taken up the option, the Government now needs to publish the Local Government Finance Settlement as soon as possible. This will give councils more time to plan for the difficult funding decisions which lie ahead."

23 November 2016