Today the Chancellor has announced a one-year Spending Review, as opposed to the original plan of a three-year review, owing to Brexit uncertainty.
This process will be concluded in September. CCN’s recent ‘five-point plan’ for the new government urged for clarity and called for emergency funding for councils, targeted at those most in need.
Below, the network’s chairman responds to the announcement.
Cllr David Williams, chairman-elect of the County Councils Network and leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said:
“With the Chancellor confirming what we expected, it is now important that the entire sector supports the new local government ministers in making the case for additional funding for councils next year. Even if there were no further cuts, and councils raised council tax by 3%, the County Councils Network’s recent report with independent analysis by PwC showed that councils face a £5.2bn funding gap next year.
“Our five-point plan for local government set out that we need an emergency injection of resources next year to help bridge this gap. Councils have done more than any other part of the public sector to balance the nation’s finances, while continuing to provide quality frontline services. If new spending is to be announced, local authorities must be at the front of the queue. With county authorities facing the largest financial black hole of £2.1bn next year, it is imperative that any new resources are distributed fairly.
“Confirmation of all existing resources and one-off grants provided last year for social care and roads maintenance is essential, with significant additional funding provided specifically for these areas and special educational needs.
“Given the one year spending review, it is unlikely that the fair funding review can be introduced next year. This is extremely disappointing. However, we will be seeking a cast iron commitment from government that the review is concluded and published this year, with implementation set for 2021/22.”