Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement: CCN response

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2021 | 16 December 2021

Today the government has published its provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2022/23, including the proposed distribution of an extra £1.5bn for councils next year.

Below, the County Councils Network responds.

Cllr Carl Les, Finance Spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said:

“The government’s extra £1.5bn for councils next year, whilst not a silver bullet, will reduce the funding gap county authorities face in 2022 and help protect frontline services.

“The distribution of that funding, announced today, goes some way to reflect the acute pressures faced by councils who are delivering social care services. However, the allocations for CCN member councils are slightly below expectations. Given the funding pressures facing social care services, we would have hoped to have seen a greater proportion of the £1.5bn allocated directly to these services.

“Therefore, while today’s funding is welcome, it remains the case that county authorities still face a funding gap of £700m next year with a large proportion of this new money offsetting councils’ extra costs from the National Living Wage and National Insurance rises. Unless further funding is made available at the final settlement, our councils will need to make further difficult decisions to balance their budgets.

“We welcome the confirmation that the government intends bring forward a further consultation on funding reform, after a pandemic-enforced delay. The County Councils Network broadly welcomed the direction of travel set out by the ministers in early 2020, and we would encourage them to build on these proposals. It vital that that reforms recognise the higher demand and service delivery costs in county areas, while not penalising county authorities for historically lower funding that has led to higher rates of council tax. We will engage with the government in the New Year as this policy proceeds.”