Laura Sharman 01 October 2021

Local services will face £8bn funding blackhole by 2024, councils warn

Local services will face £8bn funding blackhole by 2024, councils warn image

Council tax will have to rise by more than a quarter in the next three years to cover the shortfall in funding for local services, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned today.

Analysis by the LGA reveals it will cost at least £8bn more to keep local services running at today’s levels by 2024.

It warned this will put vital services such as homelessness prevention, road maintenance, recycling, and child protection at risk.

The LGA’s analysis found council tax income would have to rise by more than a quarter over the next three years in order to meet these extra cost pressures. It said it was ‘particularly alarming’ that the Government is relying on the use of council tax to fund social care reforms.

The submission calls on the spending review to provide councils with a multi-year settlement which provides sufficient additional funding to meet growing cost pressures and existing challenges.

Councils are also calling for a new £1bn unringfenced Community Investment Fund in 2022/23 to help councils support individuals and tackle priorities in their local areas.

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.’

A government spokesperson said: 'The Government has allocated more than £12bn directly to councils since the start of the pandemic - with more than £6bnn available to spend as they see fit - recognising that councils are best placed to deal with local issues.

'We have taken historic action to fix the social care crisis that governments have ducked for decades – the Health and Social Care Levy will raise £12bn a year to fund the NHS and social care.

'The Spending Review will continue to focus on supporting jobs and delivering the public’s key priorities.'

Photo: Peter_Fleming / Shutterstock.com

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