William Eichler 02 July 2019

One in three councils fear funding for legal duties will 'run out’

One in three councils fear funding for legal duties will run out’   image

A third of councils fear they will run out of funding to provide statutory services, such as adult social care and protecting children, by the end of this Parliament, a survey has revealed.

Between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost 60p out of every £1 they had from central Government to run local services. By 2025, the LGA estimates, councils face an overall funding gap of £8bn.

The Local Government Association (LGA) survey of council finances found that one in three councils fear they will run out of funding to carry out their legal duties by 2022/23. This rises to two thirds of councils by 2024/2025 or later.

The LGA’s survey, which has been published to coincide with the organisation’s Annual Conference in Bournemouth today, also found that 17% of councils are not confident of realising all of the savings they have identified this year.

An unprecedented rise in demand means many councils are having to spend more than they planned for in adult social care, children’s services and homelessness support.

The LGA urged the next Prime Minister to prioritise local public services in the Spending Review and give councils urgent certainty about future funding, business rates retention and the fair funding review.

‘As this survey shows, if the Government fails to adequately fund local government there is a real risk to the future financial viability of some services and councils,’ said LGA chairman Lord Porter.

‘Councils would normally have started their budget-setting planning process but remain completely in the dark about how much funding they will have next year. Communities relying on the vital local services that make a difference to their lives deserve better.

‘Securing the financial sustainability of local government must be the top priority for the next Prime Minister.

‘Urgent guarantees are needed that councils will have the funding they need to ensure our vital public services survive the uncertainty ahead.’

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