LGiU calls on next PM to set out funding plans for local government in first 100 days
Local Finance Taskforce provides roadmap for a sustainable financial future
Today, the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) launches the final report of the Local Finance Taskforce and calls on the next Prime Minister to address local government funding in his first 100 days in office.
The final report, a roadmap for the future sustainability of local finance, sets out a plan (and timeline) for developing a fair and sustainable funding system that includes: a commitment to a one year emergency local government finance settlement; a national strategy for health and social care funding and the removal of the council tax referendum requirement.
In the report, the Taskforce challenges the next Prime Minister to set out a plan for local government finance that considers the following: quantum, uncertainty and risk, adult social care, business rates, council tax, other sources of funding and local government’s place within the wider public sector. A full copy of the recommendations is attached.
The Taskforce, launched in February 2018, consulted 245 senior figures within local government on the future of local government funding. The final report brings together this evidence and recommends a local government-led path to a sustainable financial future. The roadmap follows on from the Local Finance Scorecard (launched July 2018) to kickstart a wider debate on the big ideas for local government finance and funding post 2020.
Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGiU, said: “The next Prime Minister will have 100 days to save local government when he is elected on 23 July.
At the moment, councils have no idea how they will be funded this time next year. They face a financial cliff edge on 31st March 2020 and currently have no ability to budget or plan their services for the year ahead. Some may soon be forced to take very difficult decisions, based on their worst-case scenario budget estimates – making redundancies, stripping down services, selling valued public assets – that may turn out to be completely unnecessary. Under normal circumstances, this would be a recipe for disaster but under the current Government it appears to be another issue caught up in the Brexit fog.
Our Local Finance Taskforce sets out a roadmap for the future that is sustainable. In it, we demand from Government a local government funding system that is fair, transparent and provides certainty and a settlement that is clear about the role and value of councils, and their relationship with the wider public sector and society. Local government deserves better and local government deserves more.”
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 brings together this evidence and recommends a local government-led path to a sustainable financial future. Further detail on the Taskforce’s work is available here. An embargoed copy of the report is available upon request.
In February 2019, as part of the LGiU’s Annual State of Local Government Finance report, the LGiU released the results of annual survey of Chief Executives, Leaders, Cabinet Members for Finance and Chief Finance Officers. Key results included:
Eight in ten (80%) councils said they were not confident in the sustainability of local government finance; none said they were ‘very confident’.
Almost one in ten (9%) councils were anticipating legal challenges this year due to reductions in service provision and over half (53%) of councils said that the current financial situation in local government is negatively affecting their relationship with citizens.
Children’s Services and Education was the top immediate financial pressure for the second year running (36% of councils), ahead of Adult Social Care (23%) which has historically ranked highest. However, Adult Social Care was still under severe strain, being named as the top long term financial pressure (37% of councils).
Councils said they would be forced to cut many community services this year, with reduced activity expected across libraries (32% of councils), arts and culture (46%), parks and leisure (45%), waste collection (22%), recycling (11%) and roads (38%).
Further detail available here.
The Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) is a think tank and membership body with over 200 councils and other organisations subscribing to our networks. We work to strengthen local democracy and put citizens in control of their own lives, communities and local services. For more information, visit lgiu.org.