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13th December 2018

This is a statement from Martin Reeves, Solace Spokesperson for Local Government Finance, in response to the 2019/20 provisional local government finance settlement

“While it is helpful that the publication of the provisional local government finance settlement has not gone down to the wire this year, there is not much other cause for holiday cheer. We are now in the final year of a 4-year settlement, with no certainty about what the future holds. Ultimately it contains little to provide any assurance about the long-term sustainability of local services.

We know that there are already 1.4 million people over the age of 65 in this country struggling without help to perform basic tasks. There are 1.6 million children living in families with substantial complex needs but not receiving support. Rough sleeping levels have more than doubled since 2010.

Emergency cash injections and putting more strain on an outdated council tax system simply will not do. An increasing number of councils are warning that they will soon be unable to deliver more than a minimum statutory offer unless the key issues of sufficiency, certainty, and flexibility are addressed.

Our residents and communities deserve far better than that. If we are truly to bridge the divides that have grown in our places and promote inclusive economic growth, we have to start by bolstering the local services that allow places all over the country to thrive.

Moreover, if UK Plc is to be competitive in the global marketplace in the years to come, we have to question whether we can risk more international headlines about English councils being unable to provide even the basic local amenities that residents and businesses in other countries take for granted.”