LGA Autumn Budget 2017 – On the Day Briefing

Read our Autumn Budget on-the-day briefing.

Download the full briefing 

Key messages

  • It is hugely disappointing that the Budget offered nothing to ease the financial crisis facing local services. Funding gaps and rising demand for our adult social care and children’s services are threatening the vital services which care for our elderly and disabled, protect children and support families. This is also having a huge knock-on effect on other services our communities rely on. Almost 60p in every £1 that people pay in council tax could have to be spent caring for children and adults by 2020, leaving increasingly little to fund other services, like cleaning streets, running leisure centres and libraries, and fixing potholes.   
  • The Chancellor has recognised the financial challenges facing the NHS. However, the best way to reduce pressures on the NHS is to tackle the chronic underfunding of care and support services, and to prevent people presenting at A&E in the first place. We therefore call on the Government to ensure that spending plans for the new funding are agreed with local government. 
  • Our national housing shortage is one of the most pressing issues we face. The last time this country built more than 250,000 homes a year - in the 1970s - councils built more than 40 per cent of them.  If we are to get back to building 300,000 homes a year, then the Government needs to ensure councils in all areas of the country are given greater freedom to borrow to build new homes. Today’s Budget has taken a step towards that by lifting the housing borrowing cap for some councils. This is an important recognition of our argument about the vital role that councils must play to provide housing for people and solve our housing crisis, but this does not go far enough.  
  • The money local government has to deliver services is running out fast and councils face an overall £5.8 billion funding gap in just two years. We remain clear that local government, as a whole, must be able to keep every penny of business rates collected to plug funding gaps while a review of the system of distributing funding between councils is urgently needed. The Government should use the upcoming Local Government Finance Settlement to make this happen.   
  • Only with sufficient funding and greater freedom from central government to take decisions over vital services in their area can local government generate economic growth, build homes, strengthen communities, and provide care and support for older and disabled people.  
  • It is disappointing that there were no measures to address our concerns on the future of the replacement of EU funding to local areas. An £8.4 billion UK-wide funding gap for local communities would immediately open up from the point we officially exited the EU, unless a viable domestic successor to EU funding is in place. To help ensure we have an economy fit for the future, it is essential that this funding to local areas is fully replaced as part of a locally-led successor to EU regional aid.  

The Budget offered very little to ease the financial crisis facing local services.  It is particularly disappointing that there were no measures to address the priorities of councils on the Fair Funding Review, business rates retention, the future of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, and social care.