Press release: LGiU Response – Spring Statment 2018

Issued
March 13, 2018

LGiU response to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGiU, said:

“The Chancellor’s Spring Statement was upbeat about the state of the economy but was clear that there will be no additional spending before the Autumn Budget. For councils that are facing an immediate and deepening financial crisis, that could be a long wait. For some, it could be too late.

And of course we still don’t really know how local government finance is going to work after 2020.

So councils are left struggling to balance the books on a day to day basis all while having no idea how many homes they will be able to build and services they will be able to provide beyond 2020.

It’s a positive development that at least councils are being mentioned in these debates, but we have no idea where in the queue local government will be when and if the Chancellor does open up more spending in the autumn.

That’s why in the run up to the Budget this November, we need an urgent consultation on the future of local government funding: one in which all options are on the table, not just adjustments to the current system. LGiU will be arguing for this review through its Local Finance Task Force. It’s vital that the Government is willing to listen.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Our 7th annual State of Local Government Finance survey results were released on 8 February with responses from Chief Executives, Council Leaders, Directors of Finance and Cabinet Members for Finance across 113 Councils in England.

Key findings:

• Nearly all councils in England plan to raise council tax (95%) and increase charging (93%) to make ends meet this year; and two thirds of councils will be forced to dip into their reserves

• 80% of councils fear for their financial sustainability amid growing concern that Northamptonshire CC is the tip of the iceberg for local government

• Councils face continued uncertainty about the source and level of funding post-2020 as political turmoil in Westminster has delayed crucial decisions on business rate retention, the new funding formula and devolution

• Despite three quarters of councils managing to sustain the quality of the frontline services over the past year, evidence suggests that their 2018/19 budgets will see activity further reduced in several key community services including parks and leisure (53% of councils), adult social care (40%) and youth centres (34%)

Find out more about the Local Finance Taskforce 2018.

About LGiU

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 www.lgiu.org.uk.