Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement: CCN response

CCN Latest News | 17 December 2020

The government has announced the provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2020/21, which will now go out to consultation.

You can read the consultation here, which contains details of how the extra £300m for care services will be distributed to upper-tier authorities, and the element of ‘equalisation’ incorporated in this.

The government has also announced allocations of the fifth tranche of Coronavirus funding, which can be read here. This announcement totals £1.55bn.

Below, the County Councils Network responds.

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

“We are pleased that the government has listened to our calls to announce the distribution of the fifth tranche of emergency Coronavirus funding as soon as possible. As we said in response to the Spending Review, the funding announced then and allocated today provides county authorities with welcome and important stability.

“We understand that the intention of the £300m additional funding for care services is to contribute to equalising social care precept receipts across authorities with different tax raising capacities. However, with councils able to spread the 3% precept over two years, we are slightly concerned the government’s approach presumes councils will implement the full levy next year. With many more households in financial difficulty as a result of the pandemic, councils of all shapes and sizes may choose to take advantage of this flexibility and this should have been recognised in the calculation.

“While this settlement helps councils meet the huge pressures from Coronavirus, we still have concerns over the substantive funding gap that pre-dated the pandemic and hasn’t been addressed by this settlement. Difficult decisions on services will still have to be taken over the coming years, and it imperative that the government delivers sustainable and fairer funding for councils beyond next year.”