Statutory services ‘at risk’ warn one in three councils

This number rises to almost two-thirds by 2024/2025 or later, while 17 per cent of councils are not confident of realising all of the savings they need to make this year (2019/20), according to an LGA survey, published during its annual conference in early July.

Unprecedented rises in demand for adult social care, children’s services and homelessness support mean many councils are having to spend more than they planned, forcing them to make in-year budget cuts to try to balance the books.

The LGA says securing the financial sustainability of councils must be the top priority of this year’s Spending Review, and is calling on the next Prime Minister to provide certainty about future funding, business rates retention and the fair funding review.

Former LGA Chairman Lord Porter said: “Councils in England face a funding gap of more than £3 billion next year, rising to £8 billion by 2025. As this survey shows, if the Government fails to adequately fund local government there is a real risk to the future financial viability of some services and councils.

“Councils would normally have started their budget-setting planning process but remain completely in the dark about how much funding they will have next year. Communities relying on the vital local services that make a difference to their lives deserve better.

“Urgent guarantees are needed that councils will have the funding they need to ensure our vital public services survive the uncertainty ahead.

‘With the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead their local areas, improve residents’ lives, reduce demand for services and save money for the taxpayer.”

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