“Communities across the country will see many of their local services face further reductions this year despite paying more council tax, the Local Government Association warns today. …
With local government facing an overall funding gap that will exceed £5 billion by 2020, the LGA is warning these council tax rises will not prevent the need for continued cutbacks to all local services this year. Councils will also have to continue to divert ever-dwindling resources from other local services, including filling potholes, maintaining our parks and green spaces and running children’s centres, leisure centres and libraries, to try and plug growing funding gaps in adult social care, children’s services and homelessness support.
The LGA said the Government needs to urgently address the growing funding gaps facing local services and provide the financial sustainability and certainty needed to protect the local services our communities rely on by committing to allow local government as a whole to keep every penny of business rates collected.
LGA Chairman Lord Porter said
“Since 2010, council tax bills have risen by less than inflation and other key household bills. But faced with severe funding pressures, many councils feel they are being left with little choice but to ask residents to pay more to help them try and protect their local services.
“The extra income this year will help offset some of the financial pressures they face but the reality is that many councils are now beyond the point where council tax income can be expected to plug the growing funding gaps they face. Extra social care funding will be wiped out by the significant cost pressures of paying for the Government’s National Living Wage and extra general council tax income will only replace a third of the central government funding they will lose this year.
“This means councils will have to continue to cutback services or stop some altogether to plug funding gaps.
“We have repeatedly warned of the serious consequences of funding pressures facing services caring for the elderly and disabled, protecting children and tackling homelessness for the people that rely on them and the financial sustainability of other services councils provide. It is unfair to shift the burden of tackling a national crisis onto councils and their residents.
“The need for adequate funding for local government is urgent. To maximise the potential of local government and protect local services from further cuts, funding gaps must be properly addressed and local government as a whole must be allowed to keep all of the business rates it collects locally each year to put it on a sustainable footing.”