Essential reading: Local government finance

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The financial crisis and decades of uncertainty over local government funding mean that the pressure on local government budgets is unrelenting. It is a notoriously complex system and will take time to understand properly; as a new councillor, your first opportunity to get to grips with council finances may be through serving on a scrutiny committee.

We have picked out a few items from our huge library of local government content that we hope will provide you with inspiration, ideas or just food for thought and make you want to delve deeper into the LGIU’s local government resources.

This page is part of LGIU’s resources for new councillors.

Explainer: the essentials of local government finance in England

This explainer provides a short, non-technical introduction to the main features of local government finance in England. Topics covered include the budget cycle, revenue and capital, and sources of funding. The main focus is on what to look out for to assess your council’s financial health amidst the challenges of high demand for services and limited funding.. Read the explainer.

LGIU Training: Local government finance essentials

This training session (online, 18 July) will demystify for you. You will learn how the council receives its funding, how the council plans, manages and reports its spending and consider how councillors can effectively engage with their council’s financial decision-making processes. Book a place.

The State of Local Government Finance in England 2024

Each year, the Local Democracy Research Centre conducts a survey of council leaders, chief executives, cabinet members for finance and senior finance officers to find out how councils are managing and responding to a fiscal environment that has become ever more challenging. The 2024 survey results.

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More on this topic

Discover more LGIU resources – from in-depth policy briefings to guest articles to training – on local government finance. Go to the topic page.

Keep up to date

If you are from an LGIU member organisation then sign up to access all your member benefits. Opt for ‘The essential resources’ update – it’s a key part of your council/organisation membership.

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