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15th November 2022

Solace statement ahead of the Autumn Statement

Solace president Joanne Roney has today warned the Government against real-term cuts to local
government funding in Thursday’s Autumn Statement. She said:

“Councils are already under huge financial pressure due to high inflation most notably in energy
prices, but also significant ongoing growth in demand for local public services. It is local
government that steps in time and time again when our communities, especially those most
vulnerable, are in crisis.

Solace understands the need to review all public spending in the context of the broader economic
outlook and local government is willing to play its part in driving out further efficiencies where

However, as the Institute for Government say, the current spending settlement for local
government is ‘no longer sufficient to meet demand’ in neighbourhood services, and ‘there is no
meaningful ‘fat’ to trim from public service budgets’.

Local government has disproportionately borne the brunt of austerity over the last decade with a
£15bn real terms reduction to core government funding for the sector between 2010 and 2022. The
resulting impact has been strikingly damaging – as the National Institute for Health Research has
shown, cuts to local authority budgets negatively impact local economies, cost lives and contribute
to falling life expectancy. Less money for local government undermines our role in prevention/early
intervention, which can only mean increased demand across the rest of the public sector, especially
the NHS.

It is therefore crystal clear that further cuts to council budgets must be completely off the table.
And no, using reserves to prop up services is not a sustainable solution, even for those councils who
are not already at minimum recommended reserve levels.”