Government ‘must prioritise’ council funding

A decade of funding cuts has left council services at breaking point and the social care system on the verge of collapse, MPs have warned.
A new report from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee says local services will continue to decline until government tackles the £5 billion funding gap facing councils.

It calls on the Government to end its piecemeal approach to local authority funding and revenue raising, and to provide a financial settlement that adequately supports councils to serve their communities and close the funding gap.

Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the LGA, said the committee was “right to recognise our call for securing the sustainability of local services to be the Government’s top priority”.

“Councils can make a huge difference to the lives of people and the communities they live in and ensure their local areas thrive and prosper,” he continued.

“However, vital local services provided by councils face a funding gap of more than £5 billion next year. A third of councils fear they will run out of funding to provide their statutory services – such as adult social care, protecting children and preventing homelessness – within three years.

“The Government’s forthcoming Spending Round needs to confirm the continuation of key funding streams such as the Better Care Fund, and guarantee councils will have enough money to meet the growing demand pressures they face next year.

“Only with the right funding and powers can councils meet their legal duties and protect the wide range of other valued local services which also make such a positive difference to communities and people’s lives.”

Cllr Jamieson added: “We are pleased the committee has also backed our call for the devolution process to be reignited. When councils have the freedoms and funding to make local decisions, there is clear and significant evidence that outcomes improve and the country gets better value for money.”

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