Time for a sustainable settlement

So I was delighted when the Government responded by announcing an extra £250 million – £125 million each in this and the next financial year – plus £100 million to create more specialist school places.

“Next year will be hugely challenging for all councils, as they face an overall funding gap of £3.1 billion in 2019/20

It’s a good start, but we are predicting the shortfall in SEND funding could rise to more than £800 million in 2019/20, so more needs to be done.

The same can be said of the Government’s provisional local government finance settlement, which was also announced last month.

There was confirmation of the additional £650 million for children and adult care services announced in the 2018 Budget, and some further new money, notably for New Homes Bonus and rural authorities (see p10-11). However, it was disappointing that the Government did not use the settlement to provide further desperately needed resources for councils next year.

Next year will be hugely challenging for all councils, as they face an overall funding gap of £3.1 billion in 2019/20. Many will be forced to take tough decisions about which services have to be scaled back or stopped altogether to plug funding gaps.

We must not forget that it is individuals and communities who feel the impact, whether it is through seeing
their local library or leisure centre close, roads deteriorate or support for young people, families and
vulnerable adults scaled back.

It is therefore vital that the Government uses the final settlement – expected later this month or in early
February – to protect local services now, and uses the 2019 Spending Review to deliver a sustainable, long-
term funding settlement for local government.

This will ensure the services that matter to our communities continue to be delivered, reducing the
pressures on the rest of the public sector and contributing to the wellbeing of the nation.

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