CCN Reaction to Announcement of Final Local Government Finance Settlement

CCN News 2016 | 09 February 2016

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Yesterday (8/02/16) Greg Clark announced the final Local Government Finance Settlement. Cllr Paul Carter, CCN Chairman, has responded to this stating that the final settlement was well received, but still remains extremely challenging.

Cllr Paul Carter, CCN Chairman, said:

“The Government announcement yesterday has been well received by counties up and down the land.

CCN has led the sector in making the case for a fairer settlement for all counties and our constructive dialogue with the Secretary of State has delivered £292m of additional funding over the next two years for our member councils.

This made a very difficult two-year settlement now more bearable, but still exceedingly challenging. Counties have delivered unprecedented efficiency savings since 2010 and will still need to make tough decisions in continuing to deliver balanced budgets over the coming years.

Our preferred solution has been for additional money for the next two years, with a view to a full needs based review of funding during 2016/17. Government accepted our recommendations.

Delivering this needs-based review is good news for our member councils. CCN has vigorously pressed the case for a review with Ministers over the past few weeks, and the Government has listened to our calls. It is a unique opportunity to work with other parts of the sector to ensure a fair and equitable funding base for urban and rural areas, upper and lower tier councils that better takes account of the growing demand-led pressures in county areas.”

Supporting Statement

Overall, CCN member councils still receive the toughest settlement of all, with some counties benefiting more than others from the transitional grant.

While we welcome the additional funding for the rural services, CCN would like to see reforms to the Rural Services Delivery Grant in future years so it is better targeted at upper-tier councils who face the greatest costs from delivering services in rural areas.

In meeting future challenges, we want to work with Government to deliver further positive news for our areas.

Alongside the need-based review and business rates retention, we will make the case to bring forward the Better Care Fund and deliver a fairer allocation method to ensure it delivers on providing greater protection for social care across the country.

A sustainable and functioning social care system is required to allow local authorities to play their part in delivering the efficiencies set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

Equally important is ensuring that critical growth related services at a county level remain viable to support the local growth and housing agenda.

It is only through the provision of well-maintained roads, critical infrastructure and sufficient school places that we can continue to have successful local economies and thriving new communities.

Fair funding and devolution are two-sides of the same coin in delivering this for our local residents.

We are determined to work with Ministers and support our member councils in delivering ground-breaking devolution to county areas and wide-ranging public service reform to fulfil the true potential of areas.