Local government works across a broad range of services that are important to social mobility. These include education, welfare, housing, family services and public health to name just a few. Councils are therefore uniquely placed to proactively contribute to improving social mobility of its residents.
- To do this, local government needs adequate and sustainable funding. Councils face an overall funding gap of £3 billion in 2019/20, which we estimate will rise to £8 billion by 2024/25. It is vital that the Government uses the 2019 Spending Review to deliver truly sustainable funding for local government.
- One of the keys to tackling inequality and social mobility is to give people the best start in life. The local authority role in children’s services should go beyond the provision of statutory child protection services. Children should be supported to get the best, not just left to get by. The overall funding gap facing councils’ children’s services will reach £3.1 billion by 2025. We are calling for this to be plugged and the cuts to early intervention funding to be reversed. This will help councils continue to deliver high quality services for their residents.
- Effective, high quality early years provision makes a difference to young children, helping to break the cycle of disadvantage, improving social mobility and offering them a good start in life. Maintained nursery schools (MNS) offer an exceptionally high standard of education and support disproportionately high numbers of disadvantaged children and those with SEND.
Adult Social care
- Adult social care is a vital service in its own right that helps support the wellbeing and independence of adults of all ages. The demand for care services is an area where inequality can be seen most clearly. Councils have protected social care relative to other services however, the service still faces a shortfall of £3.6 billion by 2025. This is needed simply to keep on providing existing support at current levels and would not meet the cost of changing the current model of provision, or include the funding needed to tackle under met and unmet need. The Government needs to find a sustainable long-term funding solution for adult social care and support.
- People need to be given the tools and skills to help them build their career, but this can be a challenge as our employment and skills system is highly fragmented. Research commissioned by the LGA reveals that the skills gap is worsening. Local areas should have the powers and funding to plan, commission and have oversight of a joined-up service bringing together advice and guidance, employment, skills, apprenticeship and business support for individuals and employers. This should be led by combined authorities and groups of councils, in partnership with local stakeholders.
- Housing crises are forcing difficult choices on families, distorting places and limiting opportunity and growth. The crisis is caused by the fact housing is often not affordable, available, or suitable to everyone that needs it. Housing markets are complex and local.
- Councils need the tools to build and invest in homes that meet the range of local needs. We need a renaissance in council investment in new and existing housing to help families stuck in homes that are unaffordable or unsuitable. The last time we built at least 250,000 homes a year, in the 1970s, councils delivered more than 40 per cent of them.
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Social Mobility - House of Commons, 12 June 2019