Local government is compelled to focus on the immediate problems staring it in the face, the impact of the cuts of the last decade can’t be forgotten. However, longer-term issues that require investment need to also be considered before they creep up and get past the point where they are resolvable.
Looking at revenue firstly, the announcements in the Comprehensive Spending Review were welcomed, £4.8B additional grant over 3 years plus the ability to raise a further £3.7B through council tax and precepts over the period. However, looking at the pressures on the sector with rising demand, inflation, pay increases and the impact of the national insurance rise then in reality this probably equates to at best a standstill position.
APSE’s Local Government Commission 2030 called for a longer-term settlement whilst fair funding was addressed, immediate moves to tackle the social care funding crisis, an end to competitive bidding pots and reform of business rates. Progress is being made but we all know that it hasn’t gone far enough, or fast enough, to resolve the systemic problems of finance, and it remains unclear as to whether fair funding will ever be reviewed!