Press Release: 76 Labour council leaders write to James Brokenshire calling for increased funding at next week’s local government finance settlement

Ahead of the Government’s expected announcement next Thursday [6th December] setting out the funding given to local councils next year, 76 Labour council leaders have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire MP, demanding an end to the cuts that have devastated local councils.

·         The letter highlights the devastating level of cuts in funding councils have faced, pointing out that “since 2010 councils will have lost 60p out of every £1 the last Labour Government had provided for local services.”

·         The letter also highlights that the “most deprived areas of the country have been hit much harder than the richest areas – nine of the ten most deprived councils in the country have seen cuts of almost three times the national average.”

·         According to the cross-party Local Government Association has stated that councils are facing a funding gap of £3.9 billion just to maintain services in 2019/20, including:

•         £1.5 billion gap in adult social care funding

•         £1.1 billion gap in children’s services

•         £460 million in public health

•         £113 million in tackling homelessness

·         The council leaders including some of those representing some of the UK’s biggest cities such as Manchester and Birmingham have called for next week’s settlement to “At an absolute minimum, you must use the funding settlement to cancel the planned further cut of £1.3 billion to next year’s Revenue Support Grant.”

Andrew Gwynne MP, Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, said:

“After eight years of continued austerity under the Tories, many councils have reached breaking point, putting vital services at risk and causing huge damage to communities up and down the country.

“The Government must listen to the warnings of our Local Government leaders and provide the funding we need to avoid a catastrophic collapse in key council services.

“The next Labour government will genuinely end austerity, sustainably fund our councils and put an end to this crisis.”

Ends

Notes to editors

 

·         The local government finance settlement is the annual determination of funding to local government. The provisional settlement for 2019/20 is expected to be announced next Thursday, 6th December.

·         Since 2010 councils will have lost 60p out of every £1 the last Labour Government had provided for local services.

“Between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost 60p out of every £1 the Government had provided for services.”

1 October 2018, Local Government Association, https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/local-services-face-further-ps13-billion-government-funding-cut-201920

·         Local services face a further £1.3 billion government funding cut in 2019/20.

Main government grant funding for local services will be cut by a further £1.3 billion (36 per cent) in 2019/20 despite many councils already struggling to balance their books, facing overspends and having to make in-year budget cuts

1 October 2018, Local Government Association, https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/local-services-face-further-ps13-billion-government-funding-cut-201920

·         Full text of letter:

 

Dear Secretary of State,

1 December 2018

On Thursday 6th December, you will announce the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2019/20. As leaders of councils representing millions of citizens, we are writing to make clear that you must use the settlement to truly end austerity in local government and immediately provide the funding we need to avoid catastrophic collapse in key council services.

Under the Conservatives there have been unprecedented levels of cuts to local government. Since 2010 councils will have lost 60p out of every £1 the last Labour Government had provided for local services. The most deprived areas of the country have been hit much harder than the richest areas – nine of the ten most deprived councils in the country have seen cuts of almost three times the national average.

After eight years of austerity, many councils have reached breaking point and council budgets are perilously close to collapse. Austerity has already caused huge damage to communities up and down the UK, with devastating effects on key public services that protect the most defenceless in society: children at risk, disabled adults, and vulnerable older people. Attempts to protect these demand-led services from the worst of the funding cuts are leading to even deeper reductions to services that everyone relies on like street cleaning, libraries, and children’s centres, and to many of the preventative services that previously reduced the pressure on the NHS and police.

We are writing to you because as leaders of many of our country’s towns and cities it is our responsibility to speak up for the communities we represent. As Communities Secretary it is your responsibility to deliver the funding that councils need to avoid collapse.

The cross-party Local Government Association has stated that councils are facing a funding gap of £3.9 billion just to maintain services in 2019/20, including:

•               £1.5 billion gap in adult social care funding

•               £1.1 billion gap in children’s services

•               £460 million in public health

•               £113 million in tackling homelessness

This funding gap will rise to £7.8 billion by 2025 if no action is taken. You must use the funding settlement to indicate how you intend to close this £3.9 billion funding gap in 2019/20, and make a public commitment to a full assessment of the overall funding needs of local government in the 2019 Spending Review.

This settlement should also be used as an opportunity by the Government to clear up the continued uncertainty that local authorities are facing. The uncertainty of what councils will face following the 2019 Spending Review is making it even harder for councils to plan financially, and with Brexit looming ever closer, councils are still unsure of what the impact will be on their local economies, their workforce, and key services once we leave the European Union.

At an absolute minimum, you must use the funding settlement to cancel the planned further cut of £1.3 billion to next year’s Revenue Support Grant. To blindly press on with further cuts at a time when local government is on the brink of collapse would be hugely irresponsible.

If you will not act then you should stand aside and let a Labour government build a society for the many, not the few.

Given the public interest in this matter we will be publishing this letter.

Yours sincerely,

1.      Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle Council and Leader of the LGA Labour Group

2.      Cllr Derek Long, Leader of St Helens

3.      Cllr Miles Parkinson, Leader of Hyndburn Borough Council

4.      Cllr Danny Thorpe, Leader of Greenwich Council

5.      Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council

6.      Cllr Tom Beattie, Leader of Corby Borough Council

7.      Cllr Peter Chowney, Leader of Hastings Council

8.      Cllr Rishi Shori, Leader of Bury Council

9.      Cllr Mark Ingall, Leader of Harlow District Council

10.  Cllr Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford Council

11.  Cllr Linda Thomas, Leader of Bolton Borough

12.  Cllr Ian Moran, Leader of  West Lancashire Borough Council

13.  Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Borough

14.  Cllr Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council

15. Cllr Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council

16.  Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council

17.   Cllr Hazel Simmons, Leader of Luton Council

18.  Cllr Chris Read, Leader of Rotherham Council

19.  Cllr Christopher Hammond, Leader of Southampton Council

20.  Cllr Ray Oxby, Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council

21.  Cllr George Adamson, Leader of Cannock Chase Council

22.  Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council

23.  Cllr Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council

24.  Cllr Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston Council

25.  Cllr Mark Townsend, Leader of Burnley Council

26.  Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council

27.  Cllr Sue Jeffrey, Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

28.  Cllr Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council

29.  Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council

30.  Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

31.  Cllr Stephen Harker, Leader of Darlington Borough Council

32.  Cllr Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council

33.  Cllr Steve Eling, Leader of Sandwell Council

34.  Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham Council

35.  Cllr Terry O’Neill, Leader of Warrington Council

36.  Paul Dennett, Mayor of Salford

37.  Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council

38.  Cllr Alan Waters, Leader of Norwich City Council

39.  Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council

40.  Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge Council

41.  Cllr Qadar Zada, Leader of Dudley Council

42.  Cllr Alyson Barnes, Leader of Rossendale Council

43.  Cllr John Clarke, Leader of Gedling Council

44.  Cllr Peter Edwards, Leader of Exeter Council

45.  Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham Council

46.  Cllr Simon Greaves, Leader of Bassetlaw District Council

47.  Cllr Shaun Davies, Leader of Telford and Wrekin Council

48.  Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster

49.  Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE, Leader of Stevenage Council

50.  Cllr James Swindlehurt, Leader of Slough Council

51.  Cllr Ann Syrett Leader of Bolsover Council

52.  Cllr Samantha Dixon, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council

53.  Cllr Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council

54.  Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool

55.  Cllr David Ellesmere, Leader of Ipswich Borough Council

56.  Cllr Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield Council

57.  Cllr Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth Council

58.  Cllr Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford Council

59.  Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds Council

60.  Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Borough Council

61.  Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham

62.  Cllr Jo Lovelock, Leading of Reading Council

63.  Cllr Alexander Ganotis, Leader of Stockport Council

64.  Cllr Stephen Alambritis, Leader of Merton Council

65.  Cllr Clare Goghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council

66.  Cllr Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council

67.  Cllr Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council

68.  Cllr Christopher Akers-Belcher, Leader of Hartlepool Council

69.  Cllr Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council

70.  Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council

71.  Cllr Eileen Blamire, Leader of Lancaster City Council

72.  Norma Redfearn, Mayor of North Tyneside

73.  Cllr Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council

74.  Dave Budd, Mayor of Middlesbrough

75.  Cllr Daniel Yates, Leader of Brighton and Hove Council

76.  Cllr Sir Steve Hougton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council

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