Council
Council's at Breaking Point

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.”

Leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Jas Athwal, said:

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

“The Government must stop and listen to the warning signs that are now evident with councils looking over the cliff edge as residents to suffer. The Government must pull back and provide the necessary funding that Redbridge residents need and deserve to avoid a catastrophic collapse in key council services.”

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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