Between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost almost 60p of every £1 the Government had provided for services.
Some councils are being pushed to the brink by this unprecedented loss of funding and an ongoing surge in demand for children’s services, adult social care services and homelessness support.
The LGA has warned that cherished local – but discretionary – services such as the maintenance of parks, improving food hygiene and safety, certain bus services, cultural activities and council tax support for those in financial difficulty – face being drastically cut back by councils across the country to plug growing funding gaps.
It said that these services are vital in their own right as they help build communities people want to live in. Cutting these discretionary – often preventative – services is also a false economy as they can help alleviate pressure on statutory services.
However, the LGA said that, with the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead their local areas, improve residents’ lives, reduce demand for public services and save money for the taxpayer.
LGA Chairman Lord Porter said: “If the Government fails to fund local government adequately then it will be our local communities and economies who will suffer the consequences.
“The Spending Review will be make or break for vital local services, and securing the financial sustainability of councils must be the top priority.
“This is the only way to ensure councils can meet their legal duties to provide dignified care for our elderly and disabled, protect children, and prevent and reduce homelessness and protect the wide range of other valued local services that also make such a positive difference to communities and people’s lives.”
The LGA warning was followed by the LGiU’s annual survey into local government funding that found nearly all councils plan to raise council tax this year, while one in 20 councils – 22 councils in England – are concerned they will not be able to deliver the legal minimum service for residents.