Laura Sharman 18 February 2016

Local government finance in a ‘mess’ warns survey

Nearly nine in ten councils will have to increase council tax and start charging for services in a bid to balance the books, according to the results of a new survey.

The 2016 State of Local Government Finance survey, conducted by our sister title The MJ in partnership with the LGiU, also found that 82% of councils will be forced to use reserves to make ends meet.

While nearly all councils that are eligible are planning on implementing the 2% social care precept, three-quarters of those surveyed said the extra money will not be enough to close the funding gap in adult social care.

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of LGiU, said: ‘Local government finance is a mess. Our research shows that right now councils are cobbling together their finances by using reserves and increasing charging wherever they can.

‘The system we have now is one which no one would design. Central government and local authorities both want to see a sustainable independent funding model. But until we answer fundamental questions about how to make this work, devolution will be a process rather than a revolution.’

The research also found that while six out of ten councils believe they can be financially self-sufficient by 2020, this will only happen if local government is given more powers over charging, trading and raising local taxes.

Heather Jameson, editor of The MJ, added: ‘Town halls want to be self-financing, but they need the tools to do so – and they need to be free of Whitehall diktat. Local government needs to be free to charge and trade and control its own income.

‘The Government talks a good game when it comes to devolution, but let’s see them put their money where their mouth is and sort out local government finances.’

For a full analysis of the results click here (£).

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Digital Infrastructure & Inclusion Programme Manager

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
£52,051 - £62,147
It’s exciting times at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Digital Infrastructure Project Manager

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
£37,600 - £50,531
It’s exciting times at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Next Generation Wireless Project Manager

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
£47,631 – £50,531
It’s exciting times at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Adult Social Worker - Long Term Intervention Team x2 - Carlisle

Cumbria County Council
£31,895 - £32,798
We recognise that our workforce are best placed to design and embed new ways of working to achieve a modern social care service. Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Independent Living Assessor

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618
We support people’s independence and wellbeing, and work hard to enable them to live in the community with dignity, choice and control. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.