Ahead of the Government’s expected announcement on Thursday 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, signed by Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, points 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, 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’ letter calls for next week’s settlement to “cancel the planned further cut of £1.3 billion to next year’s Revenue Support Grant.”
Locally, Rotherham Council is facing a funding gap of £30 million over the next two years. Leader of the Council, Chris Read, has said:
“Austerity is supposed to be over, but government cuts to council funding look set to continue. This letter asks for at least the minimum definition of what an end to austerity might mean – freezing the Revenue Support Grant to councils next year, rather than cutting it by a further £1.3bn.”
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.”