Councils need fair and sustainable funding

Austerity has strangled the UK’s economic recovery and caused huge damage to communities up and down the UK, with devastating effects on key public services.

“Austerity has strangled the UK’s economic recovery and caused huge damage to communities up and down the UK, with devastating effects on key public services

Labour has consistently opposed the cuts to local government and we’ve lobbied our leader to ask that Labour’s manifesto will pledge to restore council funding to 2010 levels.

But the next government should also be more transparent in the way in which funding is allocated.

From fixing the formula for road repairs to the introduction of the rural services grant, this government have taken every opportunity to stitch up the distribution of funding for councils. This has further penalised the poorer communities represented by Labour councils. Combined with a deeply regressive council tax system and increasingly out-of-date business rates, the entire funding base for local government is now defective.

The next government must establish a fairer and more progressive system of property taxes, and establish a mechanism to ensure that revenue is appropriately redistributed according to deprivation and local need.

Perhaps most importantly, though, any new system of local government funding needs to be protected from the vagaries of national government. Our broken system enabled the Government to make savage cuts to local public services and to asset-strip local communities for more than a decade without the consent of local people.

Councils need more financial independence from central government to ensure this can never happen again.

For true stability in local government, the Groundhog Day cycle of Labour investment followed by Tory cuts needs to be permanently ended by legislation that guarantees fair and sustainable funding into the future – whichever government is in power.

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