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23rd March 2022

Solace 2022 Spring Statement response

In response to the 2022 Spring Statement, Martin Reeves, Solace spokesperson for Local Government Finance, said: “From the frontline it feels like we’re in a state of permanent emergency – even if it feels like Coronavirus has gone away, it has not and now we’re facing an economic emergency too.

“While the Chancellor’s announcements on doubling the household support fund, cutting fuel duty, and increasing the National Insurance contribution threshold will go some way to easing the financial pressure on households, many of the most vulnerable in society are going to suffer hugely in the coming months and will be calling upon local government to help them in their hour of need. This in turn will increase not only caseloads for councils and our weary workforces but added complexity too. Inequalities in our communities are set to widen further.

“This is why Solace has long-argued for a sustainably funded sector because without that councils – the local beacons of hope people turn to in times of crisis – are limited in providing help to those who need it most. And this is why it is crucial that the Government follows the logic of their own Levelling Up White Paper and invests the revenue funding needed to robustly build the capacity and independence of our communities; standalone capital funding pots focused on physical infrastructure can only ever be a partial answer.

“If the last few years have taught us as a country anything it is the need to invest more upstream and tackle issues before they become even bigger problems that are harder, and more costly, to resolve. We must move now to shift our strategy from crisis support to long-term resilience-building for the benefit of individuals but also society and our economy. For it will only be by investing more in our people and places that we will be better able to respond to, and cope with the unexpected, but seismic, events of the future.”