National Audit Office report on councils during the pandemic: CCN responds

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2021 | 10 March 2021

Today the National Audit Office has released a new report, exploring the challenges local government has faced during the pandemic.

The report, which can be downloaded here, features evidence from county councils and unitary councils, alongside the rest of the local government sector.

Cllr David Williams, chairman of the County Councils Network, said:

“The government’s support to councils during the pandemic has been significant, but we have long warned of the impact of a funding gap of £1.4bn for county authorities, which pre-dated Coronavirus. As a result, we have had to make difficult decisions in setting our budgets for the coming year.

“Before the pandemic, councils were facing huge pressures in delivering adult social care – with local authorities projected to be spending £6bn more per year in 2025 compared to 2015. Faced with a rise in demand and a drop in grant funding, many councils have had to raise charges or tighten eligibility. We are acutely aware of how tough these decisions are on some people, and this is why we have argued strongly for the swift publication of a funding solution for adult social care.

“The government needs to bring forward its social care green paper this year, alongside delayed reforms to local government finance, such as the Fair Funding Review.”