Today the Chancellor has announced a significant funding boost for local government, with new funding for adult social care, children’s services, and for potholes.
The Chancellor said that he recognised the ‘immediate pressures’ on council budgets, and today’s announcement is the culmination of a campaign from the County Councils Network (CCN) and other parts of the local government sector. Last month, CCN was featured across the national news warning that counties would have to set out £1bn in new reductions next year without additional resource in the Autumn Budget. Download our response to the budget consultation here.
Cllr Paul Carter, chairman of the County Councils Network, said:
“The County Councils Network (CCN) has made a clear and compelling case highlighting the need for additional funding for local government in the Budget. Today’s announcement by the Chancellor of new money for social care and road maintenance is significant and extremely welcome. The funding announced will help protect social care services, help meet the rising demand for care, and support fixing potholes.
“The Chancellor and Communities Secretary have clearly listened to our calls and they have acted. County authorities faced a £3.2bn funding black hole by 2020, and would have been in the extremely difficult position of having to find a further £1bn in savings and reductions next year. This additional funding will help reduce these pressures and protect vital public services.
“More widely, we welcome the additional funding for rural broadband, investment CCN has long called for. The infrastructure investment announced to support high streets is also much welcomed, as is the additional funding for the Housing Infrastructure Fund. With counties containing 70% of England’s roads, we must receive a proportionate share of the new resources announced today for improving roads, infrastructure and transport links to enable us to continue to support local economies in our towns and villages.
“There still remains uncertainty over our future funding levels and we will continue to work with ministers in the positive fashion that has led to today’s announcement.
“Achieving a long-term funding settlement in the Spending Review next year and the much anticipated social care green paper is now our priority. Essential to this is the fair funding review, which must ensure a truly needs-led, evidence-based, distribution of resources which corrects historic funding inequalities across local government.”
The funding announced today for local government comprises of:
Philip Atkins, County Councils Network spokesman for housing, infrastructure, and planning, said:
“The County Councils Network has long campaigned for extra resource for county roads and infrastructure funding, and we welcome today’s announcement. In recent years, counties have found it increasingly hard to sustain road maintenance and pothole repair funding levels in an era of rising care costs.
“Government must ensure that a fair share of this funding is distributed to county areas, who are responsible for 70% of the country’s roads.
“We have also campaigned for better broadband connectivity in rural areas; with two-thirds of counties having download speeds lower than the national average, putting our economies at a competitive disadvantage to urban areas only a few miles apart, and hindering social mobility for county residents. Therefore, we welcome today’s announcement of extra investment to improve rural connectivity. We will continue to work with government and providers to ensure that more county homes have access to faster broadband speeds.
“We also welcome the announcement around simplifying the developer contributions system – including removing all Section 106 pooling restrictions, and the introduction of Strategic Infrastructure Tariffs in areas with joint planning committees. Counties face significant infrastructure funding gaps and we must now ensure that county councils get a fair share of these contributions to help unlock development. The extension of the Housing Infrastructure fund will also assist in the delivery of new homes; county leaders have been clear that a closer alignment of infrastructure and housing could help accelerate new developments.”