Local government settlement postponed as Parliament debates Brexit

6 Dec 18

The provisional local government finance settlement has been delayed to make way for the parliamentary debates on Brexit.

Local government secretary James Brokenshire yesterday confirmed that the announcement would be pushed back until after the ‘meaningful vote’ on the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement with the EU.

This comes just weeks after the government announced it would aim to release the provisional settlement around the 5 September every year, to help with “future challenges” including the fair funding review. 

The provisional settlement had been expected today but Brokenshire said this timetabling was “made prior to the scheduling of the meaningful vote”.

In a written statement he said: “I recognise that my parliamentary colleagues will wish to engage thoroughly in these [Brexit] debates and will also wish to consider the proposed local government finance settlement for 2019-20. I have therefore decided to announce the provisional local government finance settlement after this protected period.”

The settlement is the final one in a four-year deal agreed in 2016, although will also include allocations of the additional £650m for social care announced in the autumn Budget.

Brokenshire said that, despite the announcement’s postponement, time to make representations on the settlement “will not be truncated”.

Local Government Association chair Lord Porter said: “It is a shame that the Brexit debate has become a distraction from the pressures facing local government.

“We hope the government uses this delay to ensure the settlement provides the resources needed for our local services.”

Parliament has been given five days to debate the EU withdrawal agreement and the meaningful vote will take place on Tuesday 11 December. MPs are widely expected to reject the deal.

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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