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Local Government Finance Settlement – Statement from the Council Leader

“While the lack of new council funding in the 2017/18 local government finance settlement came as no surprise, we cannot simply shrug our shoulders and pretend it’s acceptable.

“Since 2010, we’ve made close to £100m in savings due to central Government funding cuts, and like local authorities up and down the country face more difficult decisions in the year ahead as financial pressures continue.

“Tomorrow, at a Council budget meeting, we will discuss a proposal to raise council tax – a proposal that has come about primarily because of yet another significant reduction in the grant from central Government, combined with the increasing pressure on adult social care budgets.

“The Government has made no secret of its desire for local councils to be self-funding through business rates and council tax by 2020, shifting the onus of funding away from central Government.

“We strongly believe it needs to take a closer look at the impact this approach will have on local authorities, and on hard-working taxpayers – especially those already struggling in the current financial climate.

“The Government’s adult social care precept is a perfect example of an approach that is unsustainable. It is essentially passing the cost burden on to local authorities at a time when nearly all are under huge financial pressure.

“We continue to do all we can to support vulnerable residents through our adult social care services, but we want the Government to demonstrate the same commitment. Claims that Britain is facing a social care time bomb are being made for a reason, so we are calling for a higher level of support to be given to all councils to ensure older residents have access to the services they need.

“We have repeatedly raised concerns about disproportionate levels of funding in areas such as education and public health – with the borough receiving a raw deal due to inadequate funding models. To date, these concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

“But now, the Government simply cannot continue to ignore such calls. We are not the only local authority waving a warning flag in front of its eyes – if it does not act, it risks pushing councils to a financial breaking point.”

Council Leader Chris Robbins

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