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17th November 2022

Solace response to the Autumn Statement

Responding to today’s Autumn Statement, Patrick Melia, Solace spokesperson for finance, said: “We look forward to seeing the detail of today’s announcements on social care funding for local government but the headline figures are promising.

However the fact is that councils across the country – who are operating against a backdrop of rampant inflation and a cost-of-living crisis, and already grappling with huge increases in demand – will remain under financial pressure and there are very few savings options left. You can’t cut services twice.

Lifting the council tax cap will bring in some money but it is a hugely imprecise method that will raise wildly varying amounts across the country. And continuing to rely on councils to raid reserves is, by definition, unsustainable – especially since many have already used up significant reserves to support local businesses and residents through multiple crises in recent years, including COVID-19, the current cost of living crisis, and managing the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Today is a missed opportunity to invest in communities up and down the country, to empower local authorities to strengthen the physical and social infrastructure of their places and so boost local businesses and economies, and help pull the country out of recession. Despite the Levelling Up fund, capital spending in the sector will still be shrinking overall which can only hamper future growth.

Local government desperately needs a long-term funding plan to ensure the ability and confidence to invest in our people and our places, meaningfully and strategically – for the benefit of the whole nation.”