LGA calls for more funding

It is calling for the final settlement – expected at the end of this month or in early February – to include more funding for 2019/20, and for the Government to use this year’s Spending Review to deliver a sustainable, long-term funding settlement for local government.

The provisional settlement, published before Christmas, includes an extra £16 million for rural authorities, and £20 million to maintain the current New Homes Bonus threshold – something that will particularly benefit shire district councils.

The Government confirmed its decision to remove the downward adjustment to tariffs and top-ups for authorities that would otherwise have been in ‘negative RSG’ for 2019/20, and to fund this. A £180 million surplus on the levy account will also be returned to councils.

Aside from the one-off £650 million announced in the 2018 Budget for social care, however, there were no additional resources for children and adult services, despite the funding pressures facing these services.

There is also no clarity over funding after the current four-year deal – which most councils signed up to, and which runs out in March 2020.

Lord Porter, LGA Chairman, said: “Next year will continue to be hugely challenging for all councils, which still face an overall funding gap of £3.1 billion in 2019/20.

“It is vital that the Government uses the final settlement to provide the further resources needed to protect our local services in 2019/20 before ensuring this year’s Spending Review delivers a truly sustainable funding settlement for local government.

“As the nation continues to face huge uncertainty, it is councils who are getting on with the job of providing the services that matter to our communities. Investment in these local services, and councils’ prevention and early intervention work, is the only way councils can continue to make a positive difference to their residents’ lives.

“It will also help reduce pressures on the rest of the public sector, save money for the public purse, and contribute to the wider prosperity and wellbeing of the nation.”

Communities have potentially missed out on more than 10,500 desperately needed affordable homes in the…