William Eichler 09 July 2019

London councils call for delay of funding ‘overhaul’ until after Brexit

London councils call for delay of funding ‘overhaul’ until after Brexit image

A group of local authorities have called on the Government to delay the overhaul of how councils are funded until uncertainty over Brexit lifts.

Central London Forward has urged Whitehall to pause the spending review and the new fair funding review due to the ‘unprecedented turbulence in politics’ caused by the Brexit debate.

The group, which represents 12 councils in the capital, said the Government should instead introduce a one-year spending statement based on current levels of funding plus inflation to give confidence over the next year.

‘We are living through an era of unprecedented turbulence in politics. The public, businesses, everybody is waiting to see how this process will play out – nobody knows, and it is paralysing the country,’ said Cllr Nickie Aiken, leader of Westminster City Council.

‘This is not the time to introduce such fundamental changes to local authority funding that is adding unacceptable levels of uncertainty. The sensible thing is surely to pause both the spending and fair funding reviews while these national issues are resolved.’

Uncertainty about local government funding is made worse by the fact that the Treasury has not indicated whether any spending review would include a ‘Brexit bonus’ for councils, Central London Forward added.

‘We need to get serious about how we fund our public services. Local authorities need the visibility to plan for the long term, or I fear the services the public rely on in central London face an uncertain future,’ said Cllr Aiken.

‘We need to help the Treasury to work with local government to bring forward more innovative approach to self-funding councils at a local level.’

The Government’s fair funding review includes potential changes that could see large movement of funding from some councils. One study, cited by Central London Forward, has suggested London Councils stand to lose £500m.

Cllr Richard Watts, chair of Central London Forward, said: ‘Central London boroughs are working tirelessly to support our residents and businesses.

‘Every day we work with young people to help them on the path to better futures, help people find good, well-paid work and help local businesses to grow.

‘The Government’s proposed changes to the local government funding system will leave us unable to deliver these crucial services that our residents and economy rely on.’

A Government spokesperson said Whitehall will be looking at funding for services as part of the Spending Review, the timing of which was up to the Treasury.

Leaving nothing to chance image

Leaving nothing to chance

The ‘levelling-up’ Budget is era-defining and ambitious in scope – but we will have to wait until the summer Spending Review to understand the blueprint, says Localis’s Jonathan Werran.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Social Worker - Family Support & Protection

Essex County Council
£30300 - £41475 per annum + plus benefits
We are one of the most effective and progressive Children and Families Service in the country. Our vision is to support families through strengths bas England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Sustainability & Resilience Officer

Essex County Council
£30001.0 - £34017 per annum
This opportunity is to be offered on a 6-month, fixed term / secondment contract basisInterviews scheduled to be held Friday 17th April Job Purpose Es England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Social Worker or Senior OT - Older Adults Team

Essex County Council
£38400 - £46475 per annum
Interviews for this role will take place via video calling using Microsoft Teams.Seeking skilled, motivated Senior Social Workers and Senior OT's who England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Principal Litigation Solicitor

Thanet District Council
Starting Salary £41,676 per annum, with opportunity for progression to £47,508 per annum.
We are a small and friendly team and are looking to expand with a number of senior legal roles Thanet, Kent
Recuriter: Thanet District Council

Information Governance and Equalities Manager

Thanet District Council
Starting salary of £38,916 per annum, with opportunity for progression to £44,352 per annum
We are a small and friendly team and are looking to expand with a number of senior legal roles Thanet, Kent
Recuriter: Thanet District Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue