Local government finance

Liz Truss MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, made the case for devolution to county areas, investing in human capital, early intervention and prevention, and joined-up government, in a wide-ranging speech on the Spending Review.

“With no firm plans yet in place for what happens to council funding and finances after 2020, we could all do with some budget certainty

James Brokenshire MP, Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, talked about business rates retention and the fair funding review, while Andrew Gwynne MP, Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, talked about Labour’s plans for local government finance.

The list of speakers served to underline that we have the ear of the Government and the Opposition, and that ministers and their shadows are listening.

Building on this platform, the LGA will continue to put a strong case for more funding for local government in this year’s Spending Review. We will also offer constructive advice on fair funding and business rates reforms, which will affect where our funding comes from and how it is divided up between us (see p10-11).

With no firm plans yet in place for what happens to council funding and finances after 2020, we could all do with some budget certainty – especially given the continuing uncertainties around the other B-word.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed seeing LGA Vice-President Preet Kaur Gill MP waving last month’s copy of first in the Commons, in a debate on local government funding. She kindly quoted me saying: “Next year will continue to be hugely challenging for all councils, which still face an overall funding gap of £3.1 billion in 2019/20.”

I have no doubt we will rise to that challenge, as we always do in local government, because our residents need us to. It’s time for central government to do the same.

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