Below, the County Councils Network responds to today’s announcements.
Cllr Tim Oliver, Chairman of the County Councils Network said:
“Today’s Spending Review marks the first multi-year settlement in over half a decade for councils. Ahead of the announcement, the County Councils Network set out the need for longer term certainty and additional funding to bridge an estimated £2.8bn shortfall for our member councils over the next three years, alongside the tools to support the economic recovery and levelling up agenda.
“Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement of £1.6bn of new grant funding in each of the next 3 years, in addition to the funding to reform social care, is a significant intervention that exceeds pre-Spending Review expectations.
“This investment, alongside additional funding for support for special educational needs pupils, early years and family hubs, will at least partially help councils to deal with the immediate pressures on essential services, and give councils the certainty to plan for their finances over the next three years.
“We also welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to road maintenance, although this falls well short of the additional investment in city areas. We hope that subsequent announcements confirm that the fund at least matches the 2020/21 levels of investment for roads in county and rural areas.
“Despite a better-than-expected outcome, today’s settlement will still mean that councils face difficult choices over the next three years in maintaining frontline services.
“Ahead of the local government finance settlement later this year, we urge the government to ensure all new funding provided today is allocated fairly across local authorities and that significant additional burdens are not placed on county taxpayers to meet existing pressures and rising costs, including the National Living Wage increases.
“County authorities stand ready to support the economic recovery and levelling up agenda, and we welcome some clarity on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, as well investment in skills and education. CCN will continue to advocate for a fair share of the UKSPF, which at least matches the funding member councils received as part of the European Structural Funds.
“We are pleased a number of counties were successful in the first round of allocations of the Levelling Up Fund. Looking ahead, the forthcoming Levelling-Up White Paper must deliver an ambitious programme of county deals that are rolled right out across the country, ensuring that county authorities are provided with the same powers and investment as regional metro mayors.”