Dan Peters 21 February 2017

Councils hit out at lack of new money in final settlement

Local government figures have expressed their disappointment at a lack of new council funding in the 2017/18 settlement.

The local government finance setttlement, which was confirmed by communites secretary Sajid Javid last night, confirmed retrospective changes to the New Homes Bonus (NHB) and failed to find any new Whitehall funding for social care.

Local Government Association (LGA) chairman, Lord Porter, said: ‘Councils, the NHS, charities and care providers remain united around the desperate need for new government funding for social care, which is urgently needed.

‘Cuts to NHB funding will leave two-thirds of councils having to find millions more in savings than expected to plug funding gaps in 2017/18.’

Lord Porter added: ‘By continuing to ignore these warnings, social care remains in crisis and councils and the NHS continue to be pushed to the financial brink.

'The Government cannot ignore this any longer.

‘Councils face an overall £5.8bn funding gap by 2020.

'This will push councils perilously close to the financial edge over the next few years.’

Chairman of the District Councils’ Network, Cllr Neil Clarke, claimed his members would be ‘hardest hit’ by the final setttlement.

He said: ‘Rather than supporting local areas, retrospective changes to the NHB will create further financial instability and risks removing any incentive for future housing growth.

‘There is no doubt that additional funding for adult social care is needed. However, this shouldn’t be done at the expense of equally vital services.’

Mr Javid claimed the Government had ‘listened to the unanimous view that we must prioritise spending on adult social care services’ as he praised councils for ‘getting on with the job’ of helping to bring down the deficit.

In a written statement, Mr Javid said: ‘Public satisfaction with local services has been maintained, and councils are engaged in substantial efforts to modernise, transform local services, and reduce waste so that frontline services can be protected.

‘The 2017-18 local government finance settlement provides the financial stability authorities need as they transition towards the reformed system in 2019/20.

‘These longer-term reforms will ensure the councils people rely on for their local services are both sustainable and more self-sufficient.’

Read our feature into the current social care crisis.

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