A cross-party group of the lowest funded councils across the country are joining forces to call for a £300million temporary fix to level up local government finance.
Trafford Council is part of a campaign calling on the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC) to inject the extra money, in order to help the very lowest funded authorities in the country maintain essential services for their residents.
Now, Trafford Council leader Andrew Western, and the leaders of the lowest funded councils – known as F20 – have written to DLUHC Secretary of State, Michael Gove, setting out why the additional funding is needed.
The letter, also sent to Minister for Levelling Up and Communities Kemi Badenoch, follows a meeting earlier this month of the leaders of this new cross-party grouping of the very lowest funded councils, including Trafford, who agreed to put their weight behind the campaign. Cllr Western said:
“We’ve teamed up with councils from across the country – and momentum is building.
“Our short-term solution – recently published by think-thank UK Onward – would see an extra £300million injected into the system. This would benefit the F20 councils which have low levels of core spending power, compared to better funded councils.”
“Without additional financial support, those authorities with low core spending power increasingly will struggle to provide essential and valued services to their local communities. A temporary solution isn’t ideal but it can achieve a quick and relatively cheap solution to put our low funded councils on a more sustainable footing."
“And with the local government finance settlement on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to talk about what’s required to level up local government funding.”
Cllr Tom Ross, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Finance and Governance, said:
“For too long, councils have been expected to do more, with less – with the lowest-funded councils feeling this pressure most acutely.
“Without further financial support, councils with the lowest spending power will find it even more challenging to continue providing the services that our residents depend on - and we call on the Secretary of State to provide us with the additional support we so desperately need.”
“We believe a more equitable funding formula is needed to remain financially sustainable in future – particularly in the face of ever growing demands for social care and the added financial pressures from Covid. We accept that major funding reform at the current time is difficult, but some sort of change is needed in the short term otherwise we will continue to be hit the hardest as we all try to recover from the pandemic.”
Read the UK Onward report here. Fair Funding - Report - Onward (ukonward.com)
Posted on Tuesday 14th December 2021