Latest Public Sector News

05.12.17

Counties reiterate position on Fair Funding Review following ‘misrepresentation’

The County Councils Network (CCN) has set out its position on the Fair Funding Review amidst concerns that the network has been “misrepresented by some in the local government sector.”

It has set out its position in relation to three key areas of advocacy in response to the “factually incorrect” portrayal in relation to these topics.

The CCN has stated that it rejects recent claims that counties are arguing for fair funding in isolation from underlying funding gaps faced by local government, and that it believes that the Fair Funding Review must take place in conjunction with providing sustainable funding for all.

The network has emphasised its support for the LGAand the cross-sector position on the need for the additional quantum of business rates to be devolved to local government to bridge existing funding gaps, which the LGA estimates to be £5.8bn.

The CCN stated that it “strongly refutes” claims that counties are arguing for an ‘equal share per head’ of grant funding or complete equalisation of council tax rates across the country.

It argues that funding figures per head should be analysed across different measures, whilst highlighting the differential council tax rates amongst different local authority types, which it says is crucial to demonstrate the funding disparities across the country and “the current inadequacies of the current funding formula.”

However, it has stressed that “this does not correlate with an argument for complete equalisation, which CCN has never sought to advance.”

Instead, it said that the new funding formula for local government should be “based on a clear evidence-based assessment of relative need built on a simple and transparent new funding formula.”

The network added that since the launch of the Fair Funding Review it has been supporting cross-sector collaboration, alongside the Society of County Treasurers (SCT), through the Association of Local Authority Treasurers in order to reach a consensus of how to measure relative need appropriately.

Through this it claims that a strong consensus has been developed on the need to move away from past spend and regression analysis, as well as towards a new cost-drivers approach.

In its statement, the organisation said that the evidence presented by CCN and SCT to date “underlines the fact that on whatever measure you compare funding allocations, county and district authorities remain the lowest-funded local authority types and have the highest council tax burdens across the country.”

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