District Councils’ Network responds to local government finance settlement
Responding to the Local Government Finance Settlement, Cllr John Fuller OBE, Chairman of the District Councils’ Network, said:
“Throughout the pandemic, it is district councils who have been on the frontline fighting coronavirus and leading the humanitarian effort, supporting the most vulnerable, distributing grants to local businesses, getting rough sleepers off the streets and protecting communities.
“While it is disappointing districts will not have any increased flexibility on council tax, without a prohibitively expensive referendum, it is good the Government has extended the income guarantee into next year, that there is a commitment to underwrite 75 per cent of our business rates and council tax losses, and that the New Homes Bonus payments will continue next year.
“The financial support provided by the Government so far has helped to relieve some of the pressures on districts but they remain in a very challenging position.
“Districts are the ‘boots on the ground’ leading on making sure business and retail comply with Covid-secure rules, which is why we need the government to ensure funding is passed directly to districts to deliver this work as well as commit to meeting all other Covid-related and new burdens costs and lost income.
“Only with this funding certainty can they plan and deliver the services that businesses and communities rely on, maintaining the incentives to grow the national economy one local economy at a time.
“We also continue to work with government to urge it to recognise the severity of the impact of Covid on leisure services. The role of these services in helping our communities recover from a health emergency is vital. We need funding support urgently to ensure leisure services are sustainable through the recovery.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
The District Councils’ Network (DCN) is a cross-party member led network providing a single voice to 187 district councils. District councils in England deliver 86 out of 137 essential local government services to over 22 million people – 40 per cent of the population – and cover 68 per cent of the country by area. They play a key role in local communities, providing services such as building homes, collecting waste, regenerating town centres, preventing homelessness, keeping streets clean and maintaining parks.