Below, the County Councils Network responds to today’s announcement.
Cllr Paul Carter, chairman of the County Councils Network, said:
“Today’s Spring Statement comes at a time of real uncertainty, but we are pleased that the Chancellor confirmed the Spending Review will take place over the coming months, subject to concluding a Brexit deal. Importantly, the funding settlement would last three years, providing some medium term certainty.
“Despite a welcome modest injection of funds last year, counties face a £3.2bn funding gap and the long-term outlook is particularly bleak. The Spending Review is the opportunity to provide essential additional resource for local government. County authorities have faced unprecedented pressures on their children’s services and adult social care budgets due to rising demand, whilst their funding has reduced faster than any other local authority type over the last Spending Review period.
“It is important that the Spending Review truly spells the end of austerity for local government, providing longer term funding certainty while equipping county authorities with the powers and the resources they need to drive housing and economic growth.
“We welcome the commitment to improving productivity through investment in infrastructure and a commitment to ensure this benefits the entire country. It is essential county areas receive their fair share of investment, with our areas containing some the largest infrastructure gaps, lower average incomes and poorer productivity levels.
“Although uncertainty remains, we must continue to work constructively with the government and provide an evidence-based case to the Treasury on what investment in local government could mean for better public service outcomes and securing post-Brexit growth. CCN will be working with partners within the sector to make a compelling argument for sustainable funding for local authorities.
“Alongside the Spending Review, it is imperative that despite the Brexit uncertainty the fairer funding review proceeds to implementation, bringing an end to an unfair and outdated methodology of financing local authorities.”