England & Wales Press Releases

LGIU Response: Spring Budget 2024

Dr Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, Local Government Information Unit (LGIU), said: 

“Local government was not entirely absent from today’s Budget. Headline announcements included a trailblazer devolution deal for the North East, devolution deals for Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire and Surrey, new Investment Zones and a series of funding deals to support housing. These will no doubt be welcome in those areas that receive them, but the Chancellor did not address the systemic funding issues in local government.

“Our latest research found half of councils believe they could face bankruptcy within the next parliament. Council taxpayers are paying ever higher rates for fewer services, and leisure centres, SEND provision and adult social care funding are all facing deep cuts.

“Now is the time for productive debate on the possible solutions to the local government funding crisis. Instead, the spending reductions required by this budget will increase all these pressures.

“The Chancellor recognised market failures in children’s residential care and SEND support but councils will not feel that this is enough to counteract the cost increases they have faced in those areas. Similarly many in local government will note that the Chancellor’s emphasis on public sector productivity is not reciprocated by removing some of the onerous funding hoops that councils have to jump through.

We need a proper debate about how we fund local services and we need to reform council finances. This scattergun pattern of largesse granted or withheld will no longer suffice.”

ENDS

About the 2024 State of Local Government Finance report

In total, the survey received 160 responses from 128 unique councils across England (out of 317 total). The respondents included 32 chief executives, 37 leaders of their respective councils, and 34 cabinet members for finance. The rest were split up between section 151 officers, and non-standardised role titles (such as Acting Chief Executive) with relevant responsibilities. We received responses from a broad cross-section of councils, encompassing county, district and unitary authorities, a mixture of political control, and all regions. 2023 was the last time this survey of councils in England was carried out. Prior to that, It was conducted annually since 2012.

The results of the first annual finance survey in Scotland were published on Wednesday 13 December 2023, the full report can be found here.

Learning from local government finance across the world We know local government finance in England is not fit for purpose, but how can we fix it? The proposals in this paper draw on our in-depth research into local government systems in Germany, Italy and Japan – part of an ongoing international comparisons project.

LGIU@40: For the future of local government manifesto This manifesto details what we believe needs to happen to set local government on the right path to be the sustainable and effective force we all need. It is based on research the LGIU has undertaken over the last decade and on a programme of in-depth conversations with our members.

LGIU Briefings – free access for press

You have access to our briefings service for free. Our team of expert associates produce over 250 local government briefings each year and have an archive of 2000+ briefings. Our Daily News provides a professional summary of the top local government news making the headlines and is emailed first thing each morning ensuring that you are always up to date with latest developments. To sign up to receive our updates, make sure you set up an account as a member. For any queries, please contact [email protected].

About LGIU

The LGIU – Local Government Information Unit – is a not-for-profit, non-partisan membership organisation. We are for local government and anyone with an interest in local democracy and finding local solutions to the challenges that we all face. Our resources, innovative research and connections are relied on by colleagues across the globe.