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LGA estimate local services will cost at least £8bn more by 2024

According to analysis by the LGA, councils in England will face extra cost pressures of almost £8bn by 2024/25 just to keep vital local services running at today’s levels.

This total is about addressing new pressures that councils will face in the next three years.

It does not include the current pressures that councils are facing, such as paying care workers a fair wage or investing in the early intervention services which help families and young people falling into crisis.

Following the significant spending pressures expected over the next few years, the LGA have warned that vital services, such as care for older and disabled people; child protection; homelessness prevention; waste and recycling; and road maintenance; will continue to face an uncertain future as a result.

Cllr James Jamieson, LGA Chairman, said: “Councils continue to face severe funding and demand pressures that will stretch the local services our communities rely on to the limit.

“Securing the long-term sustainability of local services must therefore be the top priority in the Spending Review.

“If we are to come out of this pandemic with a society that is truly levelled up, the vital services that councils provide must be at the heart of it.

“Councils need certainty over their medium-term finances, adequate funding to tackle day-to-day pressures and long-term investment in people and transforming places across all parts of the country to turn levelling up from a political slogan to a reality that leads to real change for people’s lives.

“Levelling up has to also mean a radical reset of the relationship between central and local - building back better means building back local.

“With adequate resources and freedoms, councils can continue to provide local solutions to the national challenges we face and ensure all of our communities are able to prosper in the future.”

The LGA said the significant financial pressures facing local services cannot be met by council tax income alone.

To illustrate the scale of these extra demand and cost pressures facing councils, the LGA projects that council tax income would need to rise by a quarter over the next three years to pay for them.

Councils are particularly concerned that the Government’s solution for tackling social care’s core existing pressures appears to be solely using council tax, and the social care precept.

There hasn’t been an announcement of additional funding for frontline social care workers from the estimated £36bn to be raised by the new UK-wide Health and Social Care levy over the next three years, which has added to concerns.

The LGA have said the government needs to commit to a greater share of the levy to go to frontline social care from the outset.

The LGA’s detailed submission to this month’s Treasury Spending Review is also calling for councils to be given a multi-year settlement which provides sufficient additional government funding and certainty to meet growing cost pressures and existing challenges.

Councils are also therefore calling on the government to use the Spending Review to create an ongoing Community Investment Fund, worth £1bn in 2022/23.

It is thought that the unringfenced fund could be used by councils to invest in supporting individuals, strengthening communities, and tackling priorities in their local areas, including health inequalities - all of which are expected to be vital to levelling up across the country. 

The LGA’s submission also sets out how devolving and empowering local government in areas such as education, special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), skills and planning can deliver more for the residents and communities.

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