Countdown to 1st April 2020, when the central government grant to councils runs out and councils face a financial cliff-edge
Local authorities are in a precarious financial situation.
With a Government preoccupied with Brexit, the creaking NHS and the housing crisis, the urgent questions about future council resourcing remain unanswered.
Business rate retention policy has been scaled back and delayed, the fair funding review has yet to report and the social care green paper is long overdue. All the while Revenue Support Grant is still on course to disappear by 2020.
Councils are facing a cliff-edge and need answers now. 2019 must be the year this happens.
About the Local Finance Taskforce
LGiU has led the Local Finance Taskforce through 2018 and 2019, working with senior local government representatives and sector experts to raise the profile of these issues to a wider audience and force the Government to provide much-needed policy clarity.
We have worked to keep the issue at the top of the media agenda and have brought the issue to different audiences. We have brought local government voices into the debate by facilitating constructive conversations with Government and finding areas of consensus. This work included:
- the Local Government Finance Scorecard: What are the options?
- key Party Conference platforms to raise the profile of council funding
- regional policy cafes with leaders and chief officers to discuss way forward
- online consultation
- State of Local Government Finance Survey
On 15th July 2019 we launched the final report from the Taskforce, which lays out a set of recommendations, principles for council future funding system and a roadmap to a sustainable future for local government.
What are we calling for?
When we launched the Local Finance Taskforce at the start of 2018, the conversation around council funding had retreated from the ambition of devolution and become narrowly focused on delivering a pared down version of 100% Business Rate Retention Scheme. However, since then there have been positive signs that the debate is beginning to encompass a wider range of ideas and a more holistic perspective on financial sustainability. Nevertheless, the central problem remains: councils are unable to plan their finances further than eight months in advance.
That is why we are calling for an emergency one year funding settlement to provide councils with enough headroom to plan their next budget without severely damaging public service delivery.
Urgent action is required to reduce uncertainty, but so is a thoughtful and ambitious strategy for the future of council finances and the role of local government. Our road map lays out the key areas on which local and central government stakeholders must collaborate.
How can you help?
Speak to the press: Share stories from your council about the human impact of ongoing financial uncertainty with your local and national media contacts, to help them explain the situation.
Show your support: Spread the word about the challenges facing the sector to maintain the visibility of the issue and put pressure on Government by sending a simple tweet!
- Tweet your support
- Use the hashtag #FixCouncilFunding when sharing your own work or relevant news