Parliament yesterday (Wednesday 7 February 2018) approved the funding settlement for English local authorities that will see a real terms increase in available resources over the next two years and give them access to over £200 billion from 2015 to 2020 to deliver the high-quality services their local communities need.
The settlement gives councils additional financial freedoms to deliver services for their most vulnerable residents while protecting council taxpayers from excessive increases in their bills.
For the coming financial year (2018/2019), Worcestershire will have Core Spending Power of £345.1 million, an increase of £10.4 million or 3.1%.
Ahead of today’s Parliamentary debate, the Communities Secretary had announced extra funding to help local authorities meet the needs of vulnerable people and support services in rural areas.
Following representations from local government and Members of Parliament on the provisional funding plans announced in December, a further £150 million will be available to those councils providing Adult Social Care.
In addition, £16 million will be made available to councils providing services in rural areas, taking the total Rural Services Grant to £81 million – the highest it has ever been and a recognition of the cost of providing local services in sparsely populated areas.
For Worcestershire, this additional funding amounts to £1.5 million.
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid said:
“Parliament has today approved a settlement that strikes a balance between relieving growing pressure on local government whilst ensuring that hard-pressed taxpayers do not face excessive bills. We have listened to representations made and delivered on these requests: two years of real terms increases in resources, more freedom and fairness, and greater certainty to plan and secure value for money.”
Local MP, Robin Walker, welcomed the Settlement, saying: “Worcestershire MPs have been working together to press the case for a fair funding settlement and for our County’s rurality to be properly supported. Although my constituency is urban, the county as a whole does face challenges with sparsity and long-distance travel. I am pleased to see the increase to the rural services grant which really matters in a place like Worcestershire. I am also pleased to see more investment in adult social care which is a crucial priority. Whilst I am always keen to see council tax increases kept to a minimum I do support the County Council in ensuring that more is invested in children’s care and adult social care and I am glad that this settlement supports them in these vital priorities.”
Government has also launched a review of local authorities’ needs and resources to enable a new funding system to be devised. Ministers are encouraging local authorities to respond to the consultation ahead of the deadline on 12 March 2018.
Details of the settlement, including funding breakdowns for individual authorities can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/core-spending-power-final-local-government-finance-settlement-2018-to-2019
Notes to editors
For Robin’s previous statement on local authority funding settlement, see: http://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-boost-for-county-finances-after-crucial-meeting-with-minister/
In December the threshold at which local authorities must hold a referendum in order to raise council tax was confirmed in line with inflation (3%).This change, combined with the additional flexibility on the Adult Social Care precept confirmed last year, gives local authorities support in relieving pressure on local services – including adults and children’s social care.
Following feedback from the sector as part of the consultation, the Government has today also announced some additional measures.
- A £150 million Adult Social Care Support Grant in 2018-19; and
- A further £16 million for Rural Services Delivery Grant in 2018-19 to allow for funding commensurate with 2016-17 levels.