William Eichler 16 December 2019

PM told to ‘reset the dial for local government’

PM told to ‘reset the dial for local government’ image

Local government professionals have written to the new Prime Minister urging him to provide councils with ‘immediate’ financial certainty for next year.

UK Solace president Martin Swales wrote to Mr Johnson on Friday asking for his ‘commitment from day one’ to delivering a sustainable funding settlement for the next five-year term.

Over the last decade of Conservative Governments, councils have been forced to cut spending on local services by over 20% because of reductions to their funding from Whitehall.

As well as a sustainable funding settlement, Mr Swales urged the Government to implement funding reforms for social care to stabilise the system for the long-term.

He also called for more of an emphasis on prevention and for a simplified economic growth governance and funding landscape.

‘Councils have already begun taking budget-led decisions which see further withdrawal of services from April 2020. You can mimimise the impact of these decisions by confirming the local government finance settlement for the year ahead as a matter of urgency,’ Mr Swales wrote.

‘More pressing yet is the need to seize the opportunity offered by next year’s Budget and Spending Review to provide a truly sustainable multi-year settlement for the sector.

‘This is the number one policy ask of Solace members to enable strategic and effective use of precious public funds, so helping underpin the delivery of your policy priorities in communities across the UK.’

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