The information below outlines the scale of the financial challenge facing all councils, including district councils, and the measures which must be taken to ensure local government is funded sustainably. It also sets out the pressures facing some of district councils’ most in-demand services.
- Between 2010 and 2020 councils in England will have lost almost 60p in every £1 of central government funding. For district councils this equates to almost £1 billion. This has created an unsustainable gap in funding that is having a significant impact on the services which all councils, including district councils, deliver in their communities.
- Councils will face an overall funding gap of £3.1 billion in 2019/20, which we estimate will rise to £8 billion by 2024/25. For district councils, the pressures are particularly acute in homelessness support.
- The extra funding in the 2018 Budget and the 2019/20 Local Government Finance Settlement showed that the Government is listening to our calls to ease some of the pressure facing local services this year. This included over £50 million for district councils to erase negative Revenue Support Grant.
- The Local Government Finance Settlement also included £18 million to ensure no changes to the New Homes Bonus threshold. There was also more than £3 million made available to districts through the Rural Services Delivery Grant.
- Councils have responded to the financial challenge by streamlining services and becoming more efficient. For example councils are currently approving nine in every 10 planning applications, despite an increase in the number of applications.
- It is vital that the Government uses the 2019 Spending Review to deliver truly sustainable funding for local government. Investing in local services is good for the nation’s prosperity and overall wellbeing. The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign highlights the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not invest in councils at the Spending Review.
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Debate on district council finances - House of Commons, Wednesday 1 May 2019