During the current unprecedented times the country is facing, local government is providing local stability and the leadership needed to support national government as it seeks to negotiate the best deal for our nation in exiting the European Union.
It is councils who make our local areas greener, cleaner and safer, and support and safeguard vulnerable children, older and disabled people and those who are homeless or in need. People rightly look to their council to support them and their family, and to be at the heart of their community. When asked who was most trusted to make decisions about how services are provided in their local area, 72 per cent said their local council.
But unprecedented funding pressures and demand for key services is pushing councils to the limit. Councils have strained every sinew to play a vital role in supporting local economies and communities through a difficult few years. Local government has sustained disproportionately large reductions in Government funding over this decade, in comparison to the rest of the public sector. Between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost 60p out of every £1 the Government had provided for services.2 In 2019/20 Councils’ Revenue Support Grant is due to be cut by £1.3 billion.
If the Government fails to adequately fund local government there is a real risk to the future financial viability of services and councils. Many local authorities will reach the point where they only have the funds to provide statutory responsibilities. The AnyCouncil narrative appended to this submission shows the very real decisions on reducing services that councils have had to make and how they are increasingly unable to provide dignified care for our elderly and disabled, protect children, boost economic growth, fill potholes, build homes, and much more.
Our analysis shows that local services face a funding gap of £7.8 billion by 2024/25. This funding gap will already stand at £3.9 billion by 2019/20. The funding pressures facing adults and children’s social care, as well as homelessness and public health, are particularly severe. The growing demand for these services has meant that less money is being spent on the other services that keep our communities running such as libraries, local roads, early intervention and local welfare support. This is also a false economy, and leads to increased cost pressures in other parts of the public sector.
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