“With councils still facing a funding gap of more than £3 billion in 2019/20, it is disappointing that the Chancellor has missed the opportunity to use today’s Spring Statement to provide further desperately-needed funding for our under-pressure local services this year.
It is vital that the Government’s forthcoming Spending Review recognises the importance of local support to achieving its wider aims in reforming the welfare system and improving outcomes for low-income households.
Faced with a government funding settlement that assumes maximum council tax rises and these funding pressures, many councils feel they have little choice but to ask residents to pay more council tax again this year to help them try and protect their local services.
Fully funding councils is the only way to ensure they can continue to provide all of the valued local services which make such a positive difference to people’s lives. It will also save money for the taxpayer and others part of the public sector, such as the NHS.
Pressures continue to grow in children’s services, adult social care, and efforts to tackle homelessness and this is leaving increasingly less money for councils to fund other discretionary services, such as the maintenance of parks, certain bus services, cultural activities and council tax support for those in financial difficulty.
Communities may suffer the loss of leisure and cultural facilities, fewer bus services, unkempt parks and green spaces and see fly-tippers go unpunished without government investment in under-pressure council services.
If we truly value our local services then we have to be prepared to pay for them. Fully funding councils is the only way they will be able to keep providing the services which make a difference to people’s lives, such as caring for older and disabled people, protecting children, building homes, fixing roads and collecting bins.