Sunday, January 29, 2023

One in three councils fear funding for legal duties will run out within three years

LGA

ONE IN THREE COUNCILS FEAR FUNDING FOR LEGAL DUTIES WILL RUN OUT WITHIN THREE YEARS

A THIRD of councils fear they will run out of funding to provide their statutory services – such as adult social care, protecting children and preventing homelessness – by the end of this Parliament.

As more than 1,400 local government leaders, councillors and ministers gather at its Annual Conference in Bournemouth today, the Local Government Association is revealing the initial findings of its survey of council finances ahead of the Spending Review.

It reveals that:

· 1 in 3 councils fear they will run out of funding to provide their legal duties by 2022/23.

· That number rises to almost two thirds of councils by 2024/2025 or later. The LGA estimates that councils face an overall funding gap of £8 billion by 2025.

· Almost a fifth of councils (17 per cent) are not confident of realising all of the savings they have identified to make this year (2019/20). 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. These overspends have seen councils forced to make in-year budget cuts to try and balance their books.

Between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost 60p out of every £1 they had from central government to run local services. The next Spending Review will be make or break for vital local services and securing the financial sustainability of councils must be the top priority.

National political uncertainty and an unresolved Brexit means the chances of the Government carrying out a three-year Spending Review this year look increasingly unlikely. Instead, councils may face a one-year roll-over settlement.

Either way, councils urgently need some certainty about how local services will be funded next year so they can try and plan financially for next year.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, is therefore calling for 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.

At the very least, the Government needs to confirm the continuation of key funding streams next year, such as the Better Care Fund, and provide councils with local freedom to make decisions about council tax levels.

Councils also need a guarantee they will have enough money to meet the growing demand pressures they face next year, particularly in adult social care, children’s services, special educational needs, homelessness support and public health activity. The LGA estimates that councils in England face an overall funding gap of £3.1 billion in 2020/21.

This is the only way to ensure councils can meet their legal duties to provide dignified care for our elderly and disabled, protect children, and prevent and reduce homelessness and protect the wide-range of other valued local services which also make such a positive difference to communities and people’s lives.

Lord Porter, LGA Chairman, said:

“Councils in England face a funding gap of more than £3 billion next year, rising to £8 billion by 2025.

“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.

“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.

“With the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead their local areas, improve residents’ lives, reduce demand for services and save money for the taxpayer.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. Well that’s what happens when you let the Tories into power – they cut and cut and cut funding to vital public services because they are bought and paid for (or have financial interests in) big business, most of which seem to profit greatly from Tory policies. Strange that, isn’t it?

    And why do the Tories cut funding to public services? Because they don’t rely on them for themselves or their families and they don’t care about the people who do rely on vital public services.

    The problem with society is that the Tories and their apologists (UKIPers, Brexit Party supporters, etc) think of themselves as above the people who rely on vital public services because they, like many others businesses connected to Tory MPs, benefit when the Tories are in power (and you can include the time Blair’s New Labour were in power because they were Tories with a very small conscience).

    Real Labour, Corbyn’s Labour, and parties like the Greens are the only parties that give a toss about the average person in the street, about the services that keep them healthy and the vulnerable safe and about giving them access to justice that only a well-funded legal aid system can give them.

    If only more people wanted to be better versions of themselves than they are we could have a better, more caring society.

  2. Working class, kiss my arse. That’s the way it is now days. Too much poncing off the state and the books need balancing.
    To many spongers making the genuine needy suffer.

  3. Totally agree with you. Genuine disability benefit claimants, like me, who have paid into the system when we were able to or those who have been unable to work due to disabilities from birth are being punished by the government or screwed over by those who play the benefits system and it needs to stop. The problem is, however, how to sympathetically assess so that genuine disabled claimants aren’t subjected to expensive and mostly pointless assessments (the assessment process actually costs more to do than paying out the benefits without them) by people who aren’t properly trained or have the requisite knowledge of the conditions they are supposed to be assessing.

  4. I totally agree with you to Mr Cook. The welfare system is there to help those in genuine need and I have no problem with that whatsoever. The problem is the scroungers and fraudsters.

    The point you made about assessors not being properly trained is valid, but more so, I would say the don’t care (it’s not their money) attitude is rife too.

    Councils are so ineffective on this issue, but in fairness to them the system also allows for huge exploitation. One instance I know…A Mercedes car on disability…really!

  5. It’s nice of you to agree with me that genuine claimants are deserving of the assistance they get from the system. Given that and the fact that I have been classified as unfit to work based on the medical evidence provided by my GP and other medical professionals, would you like to retract your previous attacks on me when you called me a “parasite” and “work shy”?

    My last face-to-face assessment was cancelled due to the medical evidence which was sufficient to deem me unfit for work so the ruling was not based on a possibly flawed face-to-face assessment.

    As for your point on assessors not caring because “it’s not their money”, I have to correct you. They are taxpayers as well so, in effect, it is their money. The real motivation behind so many flawed assessments are the financial inducements, given by the Tory government, to the private companies that provide the assessors to declare as many people as possible as fit for work this reducing the benefit bill. Of course, the largest percentage of the DWP’s budget goes on pensions but the Tories would rather not cut that part of the DWP budget as that would negatively affect the people most likely to vote Tory.

    As for your point on, I assume, Motability vehicles, I would rather know the reason for someone choosing a particular make and model of car before accusing them of exploiting the system. It may be that Mercedes include options in their cars that assist that particular individual’s disability that aren’t available in other makes and models. Surely, before you rush to judge a person for their choices, you should take into account the circumstances that led to those choices?

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