District Councils’ Network respond to Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement
Commenting on the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement, Cllr Sharon Taylor, DCN Spokesperson for Finance & Investment said:
“This has been a period of unprecedented challenge for local council finances, with many councils still facing significant financial pressures nearly two years on from the start of the pandemic. District councils have been hardest hit and have been striving to balance higher costs with shrinking income streams. This balancing act will only get harder as we move into Plan B and a very difficult winter ahead.
“A stable financial foundation is critical for us to continue delivering the excellent frontline services our communities rightly expect. These are highly visible services that matter to every resident and every business in our areas. We also want to play a leading part in levelling up the country and we are ambitious about delivering net zero.
“That’s why we’ve been calling for a fair share of the additional £1.6 billion per year announced in the Spending Review, steps to preserve our existing funding from the New Homes Bonus and retained business rates, and additional flexibilities on council tax.
“Coming on top of ten years of funding cuts, this provisional funding settlement is a step forward. We welcome the one-off services grant and the preservation of current New Homes Bonus funding and the Lower Tier Services Grant. This will cover some of the inflationary pressures we face. But it’s disappointing that the settlement hasn’t given us the extra council tax flexibilities we need.
“Altogether the settlement won’t be enough to meet the full weight of demands we’ll face over the next year. There are still funding gaps for Covid costs, leisure services and homelessness. And it doesn’t provide the funding or flexibility we need to invest in jobs, regeneration and net zero. That’s why we’re calling for the final settlement to allocate more money to district councils on top of what’s already been announced for the whole local government sector.
“Districts also need longer-term certainty. That’s why we want to work with the Government to ensure our councils don’t lose out from longer-term funding reforms and to explore opportunities to diversify our income base.”
Contact: DCN Media Office, 020 7664 3333