Cash for councils up 6.9%

Council core spending power could increase by 6.9 per cent in cash terms in 2022/23, according to the provisional local government finance settlement.

Published before Christmas, the settlement for England also includes an extra £1.4 billion over three years to help with additional cost burdens related to social care.

The LGA said the announcement provides certainty on the allocation of most of the £1.6 billion of funding announced in October’s Spending Review (see first 665) for councils in the next financial year. 

However, it called for clarity on which local government funding reforms will happen, and when the Fair Funding Review will proceed and with what scope.

While welcoming the additional funding for adult and children’s social care, it warned this will not go far enough in addressing the real and current pressures facing these vital services

Cllr James Jamieson OBE, LGA Chairman, said: “The increase in grant, together with council tax raising powers, will support councils to meet extra cost and demand-led pressures in 2022/23 to keep providing services at pre-pandemic levels. However, for that to happen, every council will have to raise council tax by the maximum in the next financial year. 

“This leaves them facing the tough choice about whether to increase council tax bills to bring in desperately needed funding at a time when they are acutely aware of the significant burden that could place on some households.”

He added: “We look forward to resuming our work with the Government on the Fair Funding Review to ensure overall local government funding is sufficient when any funding distribution changes are introduced, and that no council sees its funding reduce as a result.”

Consultations on the provisional local government finance settlement close on 13 January, see http://www.gov.uk/government/consultations.

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