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04.07.17

Lord Porter: Councils to lose 75p of every £1 of Whitehall cash by 2020

Lord Porter, the Conservative chairman of the LGA, has today called for an end to austerity as he warned that by 2020, local government will have lost 75p of every £1 of core central government funding that it had spent in 2015.

The LGA chair also repeated calls for local government to be allowed to keep all of the £26bn raised by business rates ever year.

Addressing 1,200 public sector delegates at the LGA’s annual conference in Birmingham today, attended by PSE, he stated that almost half of all councils – 168 authorities – will no longer receive any of this core central government funding by 2019-20.

Lord Porter warned that councils faced an overall budget gap of £5.8bn by 2020 and argued that even if councils stopped delivering all essential services and maintenances to local areas, they would not save enough money to plug the gap by 2030.

During his speech, he also called for the central government to abolish council tax referendum limits, to give residents and councillors powers over how local services were paid for in their areas.

“The money local government has to provide vital day-to-day local services is running out fast,” Lord Porter emphasised. “There is also now huge uncertainty about how local services are going to be funded beyond 2020.

“Councils can no longer be expected to run our vital local services on a shoestring. We must shout from the roof tops for local government to be put back on a sustainable financial footing.”

He went on to call for “every penny” in local taxation collected locally to be kept by local government and spent on public services, adding: “The cap on council tax also needs to be lifted to ensure new money can be raised locally and spent locally.

“Local government is the fabric of our country, even more so during this period of uncertainty for the nation. Councils are the ones who can be trusted to make a difference to people’s lives. To build desperately-needed homes, create jobs and school places, provide the dignified care for our elderly and disabled and boost economic growth.

“If austerity is coming to an end, then we need to make sure councils are at the front of the queue for more money,” Lord Porter concluded. “Only with adequate funding and the right powers can councils help the government tackle the challenges facing our nation now and in the future.”

 

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