A government minister has disputed claims by the Local Government Association (LGA) that councils are facing £3.3bn in funding cuts as ‘unsubstantiated and premature’.
The LGA’s annual Future Funding Outlook report, which is published today, claims local authorities in England are facing a £3.3bn reduction in central government funding in 2016/17 and will have to make further savings – of up to 12% - next year.
Using figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the LGA predicts funding for services will be reduced by a further 11% in 2017/18, 4% in 2018/19 and 7% in 2019/20.
The LGA claims these cuts will leave councils facing a funding gap of £9.5bn by 2020.
‘Core local government funding has been protected from further in-year cuts in the Budget, but it is clear the Spending Review in the autumn will see councils continue to face challenging funding reductions and spending pressures over the next few years,’ said LGA chair, Cllr David Sparks.
But local government minister Marcus Jones responded that the LGA’s figures are ‘unsubstantiated and premature’ and ‘based on funding decisions which have yet to be made let alone announced’.
‘Councils have worked hard over the past five years to deliver a better deal for local taxpayers, however, like the rest of the public sector will have to continue playing their part in tackling the deficit to ensure the economic recovery continues,’ said Mr Jones.
‘In the run up to the Spending Review and next local government settlement we will continue to listen to the views of councils, the LGA and others about the best way of distributing funding to achieve fairness, efficiency and local growth.’