Date Published: 02 September 2019
Rutland County Council has welcomed a report from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee into local government finance.
The Committee has produced a hard-hitting report that concludes that the government has been "derelict in its duty to local authorities" by failing to set out a funding settlement that addresses immediate service pressures or plan for future challenges.
The report explains that local authorities have coped with significant real-terms spending cuts, primarily caused by very significant cuts in central government grants at a time when the demand for costly and essential services such as adult and children’s social care has rocketed. The National Living Wage and other new responsibilities for employers, such as the Apprenticeship Levy and Pension Auto-Enrolment, have also resulted in significant cost increases for local government.
The Committee now describes this position as untenable and calls for government to increase funding, to review how local government is funded and to provide certainty of funding over the medium term.
“With the government set to complete its spending review in the autumn, this report is timely and we welcome its findings. We have been lobbying for a better deal for Rutland for some time and are pleased that the Committee recognises robust action is needed.”
Councillor Gordon Brown, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance
Rutland has seen its core funding reduce by 46% since 2015/16, while the Council receives £117 less funding per head than other unitary authorities.
“After making savings in excess of £11m over the last 10 years, the Council faces the risk of having to look at rationalising services if it receives no additional funding. One of the key points we were pleased to see reported was the issue of the unfairness of Council Tax. The report quotes Oldham, but it could equally have been Rutland. How is it justifiable that Band D Council Tax in the prosperous London Borough of Westminster is £753.85 compared to Rutland where, due to long-standing disparities in the assessment of spending need, it is £1,995? We look forward to seeing how the Government responds”.
Councillor Gordon Brown
Read the full report: Local government finance and the 2019 Spending Review.