Dan Peters 22 August 2019

£5.2bn council funding gap is 'underestimate', says LGA

The Local Government Association (LGA) will argue the sector faces a £5.2bn funding gap in 2020/21 despite believing the figure is an underestimate, The MJ understands.

Smith Square has stepped up its engagement with the Government, with chairman, Cllr James Jamieson, briefing communities secretary Robert Jenrick and chief secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak, on the key issues facing councils.

LGA officials are bullish about their calculations ahead of next month’s one-year fast-tracked spending round, but have deliberately resisted the temptation to exaggerate the figure in an attempt to secure respect from a sceptical Treasury.

The LGA has been open about the methodology it has used to work out the £5.2bn figure but still does not expect the Government to endorse its claims about the additional funding that the sector needs.

Ministers have acknowledged that council services are under financial pressure but then-chancellor Philip Hammond said in April that he did not accept the LGA’s funding gap figures.

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