Government announcement on funding for councils: CCN response

Uncategorized | 16 April 2020

Today the government has announced a further two measures to help alleviate councils’ cashflow issues, by allowing local authorities to defer £2.6bn in business rates payments and bringing forward grant funding for social care.

The total brought forward in social care grants is £850m, which has been paid upfront for April, May, and June rather than every month. Read the announcement here.

Below, the County Councils Network responds to the announcement.

Cllr Carl Les, finance spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said:

“Today’s announcement from government will assist councils in the short-term in addressing cashflow challenges as a result of their substantial Coronavirus-related impacts and new burdens. We therefore welcome the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government in providing assistance.

“However, while this action is very welcome, it does not represent additional funding to meet the costs of responding to the crisis, which is beginning to present real financial concerns for councils. For the majority of County Councils Network members who are not billing authorities, the business rates deferral will not benefit them. The social care grants brought forward will help balance expenditure in the short-term, but they were intended, when introduced last year, to fill a funding shortfall that already existed before the crisis.

Councils have significant revenue and Coronavirus-related cost issues, and these will only be addressed by substantive new revenue funding. If not, we face a real challenges in the continuation of services and budget setting later this year.”