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23rd September 2022

Solace response to the Chancellor’s Growth Plan

In response to the Chancellor’s announcements today, Martin Reeves, Solace spokesperson for Local Government Finance, and Chief Executive at Coventry City Council, said: “While Government announcements in relation to tax cuts and a cap on energy costs will go some way to easing the financial pressure on households, the sharp spike in the cost of living means many of the most vulnerable in society will still suffer hugely in the coming months, increasing inequalities in all of our communities. At a time when people will be worrying about turning the lights on, councils, as beacons of hope in times of crisis, will continue to be increasingly called upon to help households. This will just heap more pressure on the sector’s challenged workforces and ailing finances.

“While confirmation that the additional funding for the NHS and social care services will be maintained at the same level is welcome, along with the announcement of £500m to help people out of hospitals and into social care support this winter, the fact remains the financial package on offer falls far short of putting the social care sector on a solid financial footing.

“Providing councils with sustainable funding will not only help us to help our communities, but it will also accelerate local authorities’ potential to act as a catalyst for economic growth across the country, delivering new jobs and new infrastructure. It will also enable local areas to invest in prevention and early intervention services which will improve lives, stimulate growth, and reduce the pressure on public services, and the public purse, in years to come. Echoing the Chancellor’s words today, the heavy price of inaction would be far greater than that of investing in such schemes.

“The announcement of new investment zones is potentially positive for the places selected, especially for those areas most in need of levelling up, to help accelerate commercial growth and large-scale housing delivery but we look forward to seeing the detail of how these will operate in practice.

“Finally, we must also address the workforce capacity and capability crisis in local government. Ensuring we have the right people with the right skills, knowledge, and experience, in the right places at the right time is crucial to ensuring we not only deliver first-class public services but help our communities survive the current economic challenges and drive growth that benefits our areas and the country as a whole, and reduces the risk of the need for further costly intervention in the sector in the coming months and years.”