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13th December 2019

Solace President calls on Prime Minister to focus on sustainable funding

UK Solace President Martin Swales has today written to Boris Johnson, the new Prime Minister, urging him to ‘reset the dial for Local Government’.

Martin asked for the Prime Minister’s ‘commitment from day one’ and specifically asked him to:

  • Provide councils with immediate financial certainty for next year and commit to a genuinely sustainable local government funding settlement for your five-year term;
  • Implement funding reforms for Social Care to stabilise the system for the long-term;
  • Introduce meaningful programmes of reform that put prevention at the heart of government decision-making;
  • Simplify the economic growth governance and funding landscape, urgently consult on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and publish the Devolution White Paper.

In his letter Mr Swales wrote: “Councils have already begun taking budget-led decisions which see further withdrawal of services from April 2020.  You can mimimise the impact of these decisions by confirming the local government finance settlement for the year ahead as a matter of urgency.

“More pressing yet is the need to seize the opportunity offered by next year’s Budget and Spending Review to provide a truly sustainable multi-year settlement for the sector.  This is the number one policy ask of Solace members to enable strategic and effective use of precious public funds, so helping underpin the delivery of your policy priorities in communities across the UK.”

The letter also highlights the “ever-increasing demand for both Children’s and Adult Social Care”, asking the Prime Minister for “a deliverable solution to fund our social care system with reforms that provide a stable financial platform”.

Mr Swales said Solace members are keen to implement meaningful public sector reforms and called on both central and local government to work together to “deliver a systemic shift which puts prevention at the heart of domestic policy”.

The letter concludes by saying: “As you have acknowledged, these are difficult times for the UK. However, there is no limit of ambition, passion and experience amongst local government elected members and officers to improve the places we serve.  The sooner you can provide Councils with a certain financial platform, the sooner we can get on with the task at hand”.