Two people shaking hands after meeting

Call to reset government-council relationship

The Local Government Association has published a new white paper outlining how the next government can solve numerous issues by building a new relationship with councils.

Including analysis into issues such as council funding gaps, the white paper calls for a new relationship that includes long-term financial certainty and empowerment to be at the forefront of the new relationship, with cost increases and demand pressures continuing to challenge councils.

As has been the case for a long time now, more and more councils are being forced to cut back on services that they provide for communities, to ensure that they are able to meet their obligations for adult and children’s social care, homelessness support and SEND school transportation. Part of the paper’s analysis revealed that two-thirds of local neighbourhood services such as waste collection, road repairs, and leisure services are being stripped back to try and make ends meet.

With this in mind, the LGA has urged all political parties to commit to increasing councils funding in the next Spending Review, with this including multi-year funding settlements and plans to reform the way that councils are funded.

LGA relationship with government quote

Alongside key developments to improve council funding, the LGA has also called the incoming government to commission and urgent, major review of public service reform, with the goal being to understand how services can work together to serve communities better. This would see a focus on taking a joint approach to more preventative services for those that are in need, with the goal of reducing demand across costly and high-need services.

Senior Vice Chairman of the Local Government Association, Cllr Kevin Bentley, said;

“We all rely on local government to keep our streets clean, collect our bins, fix our potholes, build more homes, create jobs, keep children safe, and support people of all ages to live fulfilling lives.

“However, a funding gap of more than £6 billion facing local services over the next two years fuelled by rising cost and demand pressures – means a chasm will continue to grow between what people and their communities need and want from their councils and what councils can deliver.

“On July 5th, whoever forms the next government will be faced with many challenges, whether it is building more affordable housing, improving are or adults and children, reducing homelessness, boosting inclusive growth, or tackling climate change.

“Local government’s offer to the next government is huge. Respect us, trust us and fund us. By working together as equal partners, we can meet the fundamental long-term challenges facing our communities.”

 

Image credit: iStock

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