Like the Tooth Fairy or Father Christmas the final Local Government Finance Settlement has now been spotted. At the supermarket checkout residents are asking: ‘Will this mean the council can now afford to provide care and support for my mum and dad and my gran and grandad?
The answer to this has to be - sadly - no.
And the answer to the next question they ask is: ‘I bet council tax is going up again’. The answer for many is yes and by more than inflation.
Of course the extra funding announced in the final settlement is to be welcomed. But bearing in mind that councils will still face a funding gap of £2.3 billion by 2019/20, it is simply a few crumbs off the table.
Our children’s services, under pressure more than ever before, has not had any extra money whatsoever. In total, there will be a funding gap of £7.1 billion for local government by 2020.
At our conference in March in Southport, Liberal Democrats will again fight for a fair deal for local government, including social care. Liberal Democrat Councillors will be leading calls for more funding.
Southport will also see our education and rural affairs policies being discussed, with the work having been co-ordinated by Lucy Nethsingha on education, and Heather Kidd on rural issues – who are our leads here at the LGA on Children and Young People and the People and Places Boards respectively.
LGA Liberal Democrats will keep championing local government within our party.”