Securing the long-term sustainability of local services must be the top priority of the Government’s 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review, the LGA has said.
The review, due out in the autumn, will determine public spending for the three years from 2021/22, and capital spending for the next four years.
Cllr James Jamieson, LGA Chairman, said: “Councils urgently need certainty about how local services will be funded from next year and beyond, so we are pleased that the spending review process has begun.
“With the right funding and freedoms, councils can provide local services that communities rely on and grasp the opportunity to address the stark inequalities the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed, develop a green recovery, address skills gaps and rebuild the economy so that it benefits everyone.”
The spending review announcement follows on from the Chancellor’s Summer Economic Update and the Government’s COVID-19 funding package for councils.
The Chancellor acted on council calls by announcing investment in skills, and creating jobs, apprenticeships and opportunities for young people.
Cllr Jamieson said: “The social and economic challenge we face as a nation cannot be underestimated. Councils are deeply concerned about local economic decline and rising unemployment.
“Locally led action will be key if every part of the country is to bounce back from this economic shock – as set out in our discussion paper ‘Re-thinking Local’.
“Councils want to work with the Government on how to best target increased national investment to help young people and adults secure jobs and get millions of people back into work.”
Meanwhile, the Government’s COVID-19 funding package for councils – which includes an income guarantee, a commitment to address local tax losses and an additional £500 million in unringfenced funding – contains some positive measures and recognises the pressures councils are facing, the LGA has said.
But it continues to call for the Government to meet all extra cost pressures and income losses arising from the pandemic, including fees, charges and commercial income – warning that otherwise councils face tough decisions on in-year cuts to services to meet their legal duty to set balanced budgets this year.