Sunak: Future looking bright for local government after settlement

18 Jan 19

“Things are looking up” for local government following last month’s provisional finance settlement, a minister has claimed.

Rishi Sunak, local government minister, told a Westminster Hall debate on local government funding on Tuesday: “As we turn to the future, I believe things are looking up.

“In the settlement just published for local government for the net financial year, core spending power – the overall metric that looks at all the different income streams and grants available to local government – is forecast to increase almost 3% in cash terms.”

He added that local government has faced a “challenging set of circumstances over the past few years” and said the sector had played a “very large part” in bringing public finances back under control.

In his provisional local government finance settlement, communities secretary James Brokenshire, said councils would receive a 2.8% cash increase, but critics pointed out that this was dependent on authorities raising council tax to the maximum.

A briefing note for the debate, published by the Local Government Association, warned that councils will face an overall funding gap of £3.1bn in 2019-20, which the LGA estimates will rise to £8bn by 2024-25.

The LGA highlighted several funding gaps facing the most in-demand services:

  • adult social care faces a funding gap of £1.03bn in 2019-20 and £3.6bn in 2024-25;
  • children’s services face a funding gap of £949m in 2019-20, and £3.1bn in 2024-25;
  • homelessness support (including temporary accommodation) faces a gap of £110m in 2019-20, and £421m in 2024-25;
  • public health faces a gap of £473m in 2019-20, and £655m in 2024-25.


Discussing social care, Sunak said: “I am determined to work with the sector to find a formula that reflects accurately and transparently what local councils face on the ground, so that all local councils of all stripes can ensure they are funded fairly.”

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