Certainty and resources to plan ahead

The final local government finance settlement for 2021/22, which was laid before Parliament in February, confirmed that councils will receive a share of £51.3 billion in funding (a 4.6 per cent increase in cash terms). 

This includes an additional £300 million non-ringfenced grant for adult and children’s social care.

This is good news for councils as it provides us with some certainty and resources to plan ahead in these unprecedented times. 

It also demonstrates that our frequent and constructive engagement with ministers is paying off – the Government is listening to our concerns. They recognise the important role councils have played during this pandemic and are providing the crucial local services that people rely on every day.

However, as a former Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, who has been advocating for a sustainable funding solution for social care, I would like to see my Government provide a long-term reform and funding settlement for a social care system which is currently under severe pressure.

This year, the settlement clearly has been defined by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Our frequent and constructive engagement with ministers is paying off – the Government is listening to our concerns”

I was pleased to hear that the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP, has provided a further £1.55 billion of additional support for local authorities to deal with the pandemic and lead the recovery in their local areas. 

This represents a lobbying ‘win’ for the LGA as we have been asking the Government to help councils meet COVID-19 cost pressures.

Many councils have also welcomed the continuation of the New Homes Bonus scheme for another year, backed by £622 million of funding. The Government has launched a consultation on reforms to the scheme, which will help to develop a more effective way of incentivising housing growth and provide increased assurance over the coming years of this income stream.

This consultation will run for eight weeks and the deadline is 7 April. If you have not already submitted your comments, I would like to encourage you to take the time and share your views and ideas. To read more, please visit www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-of-the-new-homes-bonus-consultation.

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