63 per cent funding cuts taking toll on services

London Councils has warned that an increasing number of local services are on the critical list because of growing demand and inadequate funding.

Ahead of the Autumn Budget, London Council’s has said that the risks already highlighted in adult social care could also be seen in children’s services and housing as a direct result of lack of investment from central government.

The group’s research shows that a cumulative £1.5 billion funding black hole in borough finances by the end of the decade, which, when considering that the population in London is expected to grow to 9.1 million by 2020, is an alarming threat to local services. By 2020, London boroughs are expected to have experienced a 63 per cent funding reduction since 2010.

London Councils is urging the government to use the Autumn Budget to recognise currently unfunded burdens, provide additional resources as appropriate and remove restrictions that prevent local councils from raising or spending their own resources.

Claire Kober, chair of London Councils, said: “London boroughs are facing a 63 per cent budget cut during this decade despite having a duty to provide a broader range of services to a growing number of people. We operate in a thriving global city and have the expertise to get things done, but frustratingly, we do not have the powers to ensure that our residents’ needs are met.

“The impact of such a significant drop in funding on services such as housing, children’s services and adult social care cannot be underestimated. Residents are already being affected and our capital’s reputation as a great place to live and work will be damaged unless things change. In the short term we are urging government to recognise the £1.5 billion shortfall that London boroughs are facing. However it is clear that the local government funding system is broken and we need a more sustainable solution. Therefore we pledge to continue working with government to reform public services and seek new opportunities for devolution.”

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