Statement from Councillor Kevin Bentley, Leader of the LGA Conservative Group, following the publication of the Local Government Finance Settlement

18 December 2023

Responding to the publication of the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement, Cllr Kevin Bentley, Leader of the LGA Conservative Group, said:

"The 6.5 per cent increase in funding will help to mitigate some of the pressures that councils are facing, and we welcome the announcements in relation to the Rural Services Delivery Grant and the New Homes Bonus, but the reality is that overall this settlement falls short of the level of support that the sector needs and which the LGA has lobbied for on a cross-party basis.

"It fails to address the problems that all councils are facing, most obviously in relation to inflation and increases in the National Living Wage, as well as the specific challenges in areas such as adult social care, children's services and housing and homelessness. 

"Over the past decade, councils have worked hard to identify savings and reduce costs, including through partnership working and shared services between groups of councils and through collaboration with public sector partners. Whilst opportunities to find further efficiencies and savings will continue to arise, particularly through new technology, the reality is that the low hanging fruit has already been picked.

"Councils across the country now face the prospect of having to make reductions to valued local services whilst simultaneously increasing council tax.

"With the final settlement due to be published in February, I urge all councils to fully engage with the consultation process and clearly spell out what this settlement would mean for them and their communities."