Latest Public Sector News

13.03.18

Councils ‘struggling to balance the books,’ with no knowledge of how spending will work from 2020

The Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) has called for an urgent consultation on the future of local government funding following the chancellor’s Spring Statement.

In his speech today, Philip Hammond was positive about the UK economy, reporting that it has grown every year since 2010, with an additional three million jobs, lower unemployment and an increase in wages of almost 7% above inflation since April 2015 for the lowest paid.

Additional spending before the Autumn Budget is unlikely, but Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of LGiU warned that for some councils that could be too late.

He expressed concerns that if the Chancellor does open up more spending in autumn, he has “no idea where in the queue local government will be.”

“And, of course we still don’t really know how local government finance is going to work after 2020,” he added.

According to research by the LGiU, most councils in England are facing financial struggles, with 95% planning to raise council tax and 93% planning to increase charging to make ends meet this year, and two thirds of councils will reportedly be forced to dip into their reserves.

There is growing concern that Northamptonshire County Council is the “tip of the iceberg” for local government, with 80% of councils fearing for their financial sustainability.

Carr-West said: “So councils are left struggling to balance the books on a day to day basis all while having no idea how many homes they will be able to build and services they will be able to provide beyond 2020.”

He concluded: “That’s why in the run up to the Budget this November, we need an urgent consultation on the future of local government funding: one in which all options are on the table, not just adjustments to the current system.

“LGiU will be arguing for this review through its Local Finance Task Force.

“It’s vital that the Government is willing to listen.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Crown Commercial Service: Travel solutions on track

10/09/2018Crown Commercial Service: Travel solutions on track

Katrina Williams, head of travel at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), exp... more >
LEPs need to do more for England's countryside

10/09/2018LEPs need to do more for England's countryside

Paul Miner, head of strategic plans and devolution at the Campaign to Prote... more >

interviews

Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

06/08/2018Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

Michael King first joined the Local Government Ombudsman service back in 20... more >

the raven's daily blog

Social value: what is it and why?

14/09/2018Social value: what is it and why?

Ben Carpenter, chief executive of Social Value UK, discusses the worth of social value, and argues that, before we start measuring social value, we should ask clearly: what is... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >