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County authorities urge clarity for councils funding in new plan

The County Councils Network (CCN) has published a new five-point plan for the new government today – with local authorities urging for ‘immediate clarity’ over resources available to councils next year.

They have also called for a ‘cast-iron commitment’ to the Fair Funding Review.

The newly-published document, a Five-Point Plan for Local Government, calls for an immediate plan from the government for councils with the Spending Review unlikely this year owning to Brexit.

Local government faces a £5.2bn funding gap next year, even if all councils raise council tax and there were no reductions in funding; with counties having the largest gap of £2.1bn. CCN is calling for emergency resource, targeted at the areas in most need.

It is also calling on the new government to commit to seeing the Fair Funding Review through to completion and that it must genuinely seek to rebalance funding inequalities between rural and urban locations.

READ MORE: County Councils Network announces new chairman

Cllr David Williams, County Councils Network chairman-elect and leader of Hertfordshire County Council, said: “[This Five-Point Plan for Local Government] is both pragmatic and achievable enabling the new government to hit the ground running – and which can be delivered without legislation.

“It seeks to deal with the financial uncertainty councils are facing across the country.

“If a year Spending Review cannot take place this year, it outlines the steps government needs to take to help close the £5.2bn funding gap facing councils, while ensuring resources are targeted on councils who face the greatest financial challenge.

“In taking forward our plan, I will support the new Secretary of State for Local Government in making a powerful case to the Treasury for emergency funding for councils next year to protect crucial frontline services. At the same time, it is paramount that we get a cast-iron commitment to adopt Fair Funding at the earliest opportunity and contribute to rebalancing the funding inequities between county and urban areas.

“Importantly, this document also sets out a wider, more positive agenda. CCN member councils are more than just social care authorities, they are the key local agency that can engineer public service reform at scale and support the government in delivering post-Brexit growth and prosperity”.


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