Responding to the Chancellor’s 2018 Spring Statement, Lord Porter, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:
“The forecasts presented by the Chancellor today of a growing economy is good for residents and businesses. Councils and their staff have strained every sinew to play a vital role in supporting local economies and communities through a difficult few years.
“If public finances improve as a result, it is vital that the Government addresses the growing funding gaps facing councils. This is the only way to protect our vital local services over the next few years but also makes perfect economic sense for the Government. Investing in local government will boost economic growth, reduce demand for services and save money for the taxpayer and others part of the public sector, such as the NHS.
“Councils have already proved this by successfully using extra social care funding to reduce delayed days attributable to social care since July, keeping people out of hospital so they can lead fulfilling and independent lives in their communities and close to their loves ones.
“Boosting funding for early intervention support would mean councils can prevent children being harmed and reduce some of the associated costs to the public sector. If councils are able to support families and children earlier, fewer children will need to be taken into care, be excluded from school or develop mental health problems and more will be able to fulfil their potential.
“Freeing councils to resume their historic role as a major builder of affordable homes would boost home ownership, reduce homelessness and shift spending from benefits to bricks by driving down the Government’s housing benefit bill.
“Councils in England face an overall funding gap that will exceed £5 billion by 2020. Only with the right funding and powers can councils continue to make a difference to people’s lives by building desperately-needed homes, creating jobs and school places, filling potholes, maintaining parks and green spaces, running children’s centres, leisure centres and libraries, caring for elderly and disabled people and protecting children.”