Councils ‘need four times more funding’

Local government faces “unsustainable” financial pressures as the sector continues to lead efforts to beat the coronavirus pandemic, the LGA has warned.

The Government has so far provided councils with £3.2 billion, with an additional £600 million for infection control in care homes. But many councils continue to see costs spiral and income drop.

“Extra funding for councils will be helpful but they will need up to four times the funding they have been allocated by government so far,” said Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA’s Resources Board.

“We are working with councils to provide the most robust evidence to government on the financial challenges they face. Their latest monthly returns should show the impact of a full month of cost pressures and income reductions and the impact of lower council tax and business rates collection rates.

“The Secretary of State promised that councils will get all the resources they need to cope with this pandemic.

 “This commitment must be rock-solid and include the full cost to councils of meeting COVID-19 pressures and keeping services running normally, and compensation for all lost income.

“ This needs to be explicitly guaranteed by government and demonstrated with ongoing and consistent funding in the weeks and months ahead.”

“Without this, councils and the services our communities rely on will face an existential crisis. Some councils have warned that they will soon face the prospect of Section 114 reports. This would lead to spending blocks and in-year cuts to the vital local services that are supporting communities through this crisis and the national effort to beat this deadly disease.”

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