Campaign for a fairer funding settlement for Local Government

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2015 Local Government Service Group Conference
17 February 2015

This conference notes that UNISON believes that local authorities will be pushed to breaking point by the latest round of multibillion pound cuts to their funding announced in the last round of the Coalition Government’s spending review.

This is despite the communities and local government minister, Kris Hopkins, view that the Government announced what he called “a fair financial settlement for councils in 2015-16”. He went on to say that “councils will face an average cut of 1.8% in spending power” and “no council would see more than a 6.4% cut”.

The reality as the Local Government Association (LGA) sees it, is that “the reduction in central government grants amounted to an average 8.8% cut, around £2.6bn in cash terms”.

The Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa) said that “the biggest falls in un-ringfenced spending power would be felt in London (8.01%), the North-East (7.75%) and the North-West (7.42%), while the South-East will face cuts of just 3.42%. Metropolitan councils covering major cities will see an 8.35% cut, while reductions in shire counties will average 4.65%”.

The Government’s continued attack on Local Government has brought to 40% the total reduction in central government support since the coalition came to power in 2010, with Councils required to make savings totaling £20 billion over the period.

It is estimated that over 500,000 jobs have been lost in Local Government since 2010, and the Office of Budget Responsibility predicts that a million more public sector jobs will be lost during the next Parliament if spending levels are maintained as they are currently.

Local Government needs a fairer funding settlement that takes account of the fact that there have been disproportionately higher cuts for the most vulnerable communities and deprived areas of the country most reliant on public funding to provide statutory services.

Conference calls on the Service Group Executive to:-

1)Lobby Government for a fairer financial settlement for Local Government;

2)Continue to publicise the devastating cuts to Local Authority budgets and the subsequent cuts to jobs and services;

3)Campaign alongside the Local Government Association in support of a fairer financial settlement for Local Government.