LGiU welcomes HCLG Select Committee report on council finances that backs Local Finance Taskforce recommendations
Today, the LGiU welcomes the HCLG Select Committee report on council finances. The report calls on the Government to provide a financial settlement that adequately supports local authorities to serve their communities and close the multi-billion gap in local authority funding.
The LGiU supported the HCLG Select Committee’s recent inquiry into the future of local government finance, to ensure the priorities and opinions of our local authority members were reflected in the Committee’s recommendations to Government.
In June, LGiU Chief Executive Jonathan Carr-West appeared before the Committee at the 4th June evidence session and also submitted written evidence. The LGiU evidence was based on findings from the LGiU Local Finance Taskforce, an extensive consultation with senior local government figures on the future sustainability of council funding, which published its final report ‘A Roadmap to a Sustainable Future’ in July 2019.
LGiU’s recommendations to the HCLG Committee included: introducing additional council tax bands to improve fairness; committing to maintain the current level of funding in 2020-21 to allow councils to plan; an emergency funding settlement; and a major review of the suitability of the Business Rate Retention Scheme. More detail available on our blog here.
We were delighted that these recommendations were all put forward by the HCLG Committee in their report.
Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, LGiU, said: “Today’s report from the HCLG Select Committee brings to light once again the ongoing financial uncertainty facing councils up and down the country.
We welcome the recommendations in the report and were very pleased to see several of the LGiU’s Local Finance Taskforce proposals included in the Committee’s final recommendations.
As the Government prepares its one-year spending review, we hope they will take these recommendations on board and give local government the support and clarity it deserves.”
Further LGiU proposals that were recommended in the HCLG Committee’s report include:
- Undertaking a fair and transparent assessment of the actual costs involved in delivering local government services
- Urgently finding a sustainable funding solution for adult social care
- Restarting devolution discussions
- Investigating alternative revenue sources for local government
- Moving away from funding councils through one-off pots of money
- Increasing local government influence over centralised parts of the welfare state, eg the benefit system
Notes to editors
The Local Finance Taskforce launched in February 2018 with support from LGiU members. Over the past year and a half, the Taskforce consulted 245 senior figures within local government on the future of local government funding. The final report, launched in July 2019, brought together this evidence and recommended a local government-led path to a sustainable financial future.