Councils’ Delta returns in the media: CCN response

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2020 | 22 June 2020

The Local Government Chronicle has published a story on the latest Delta returns from councils to the government, with the magazine carrying out its own analysis of the data published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government.

Their analysis suggests that county authorities have received more emergency funding for Coronavirus than they have needed, which is misleading.

You can read CCN’s full response below:

A County Councils Network spokesperson said:

“The government have been clear that in providing emergency funding to councils, resources have rightly been focused primarily on funding additional costs created by Coronavirus – such as the acute pressures in social care. These will continue beyond the lockdown period into the remainder of the financial year, and are most acute in county authority areas.

“It is vital that in analysing the pressures facing councils as a result of Coronavirus and deciding the distribution of additional resources, we must focus on the impact across the financial year and recognise compensating councils for cost pressures and lost income require different solutions.

“An analysis on the three month period between March and May is narrow and simplistic, and it is misleading to suggest our councils have received more funding than they require or that allocations have been unfair. It does not recognise that some of the income pressures recorded in the first three months will ultimately impact on council budgets later in the year. It also does not account for the cash flow measures announced; £2.4bn of which county councils have no access to.

“Last week we published a report with analysis from Grant Thornton and this projects a funding gap of £752m for county authorities across the entirety of this year, rising to £2.5bn in 2021/22 once lost council tax and business rates are factored in. This best case scenario could see all of those councils exhausting their usable reserves by the end of the next financial year.”

“It is clear that councils of all shapes and sizes have been placed under huge financial pressure by Coronavirus, and face huge challenges going forward. We must now all work together across the sector, united in a common cause to advocate for more funding for the sector, distributed fairly.”