Councils still facing £3billion funding gap

Following this week’s publication of the finalised Local Government Finance Settlement, Cllr Howard Sykes, LGA Liberal Democrat Group Leader, said:

“Councils still face a funding gap of more than £3 billion this year. The money councils have to provide local services is running out fast and there is huge uncertainty about how they will pay for them into the next decade and beyond.

“If we truly value our local services then we have to be prepared to pay for them. Fully funding councils rather than smaller “one off” bits of extra funding is the only way they will be able to keep providing the services which make a difference to people’s lives, such as caring for older and disabled people, protecting children, building homes, maintaining our parks, fixing roads and collecting bins.

“Investing in local government services will also help reduce pressure on other parts of the public sector, such as the NHS, and save money for the public purse.”

Bath MP and Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP added:

“This settlement does nothing to address the growing inequalities across our country. The highly regressive council tax system means that, as the Conservative Government continue to underfund local government, subsequent council tax rises hit poorer communities the hardest.

“There must be a reform of council tax to prevent the places with the highest demand for services for vulnerable people, struggling the most to fund it."

Nick Coates, parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset, commented:

“Liberal Democrats demand better than the sticking plaster that has been presented. As Government reduces the revenue subsidy for Councils it means 80% of the 2019/20 budget for B&NES will be spent on social care. Central Government appears to be containing its costs and cutting taxes to appeal to voters. But in reality the pain is passed to local authorities and leads to above inflation council tax rises.”

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