The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has today given the Local Government Finance Settlement Consultation 2013/2014 to the House of Commons.
Relevant links are available below:
Comment from Dr Jonathan Carr-West, Director, LGiU:
Councils may feel like they’re victims of their own success today. As the Secretary of State acknowledged in the House Local Government is by far the most efficient part of the public sector and has driven down cost year on year and absorbed massive spending cuts over the last two years while largely protecting front line services.
But no good deed goes unpunished and although Local government planned budgets will be protected for 2013/14, there will be a further 2% cut in the 2014/15 budget period in addition to planned cuts.
The government says that the protection for 2013/14 is because budgets will already be
held back by other planned measures such as the centrally mandated council tax freeze and councils should take the opportunity to make further back office savings and continue to reform service delivery.
This planned 1% top slicing in the 2013/14 budget that local authorities have been spared translates into £240 million that councils will now have to spend that may otherwise have been cut. We must hope that this will allow councils a small amount of breathing space amidst the implementation of the council tax benefit devolution, the cuts already planned for 2013/14 and in advance of the 2% cuts planned for the financial year 2014/15.
Local government is full of inventive, committed people, both elected members and council workers. No doubt they will return to their desks in January determined to use the coming year to plan further efficiencies, but as they look to the future they may be forgiven for feeling a little less festive sparkle.
If you have any questions please contact Marian Ogun at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lizzie Greenhalgh at email@example.com. Alternatively you can contact us on 0207 554 2800 The LGiU will be providing briefings to members on specific aspects of the Financial Settlement in the coming days.