Council finances in disorder, survey suggests

A new survey conducted by The MJ has found that 82 per cent of councils are considering implementing additional charges for services and increasing council tax, in order to balance their books.

The survey, entitled ‘The 2016 State of Local Government Finance survey’, found that a significant proportion of councils will be forced to use reserves to meet financial demands. Although most eligible councils are planning on implementing the two per cent social care precept, around 75 per cent of respondents claimed the extra money would not be enough to close the funding gap in adult social care.

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), said: “Local government finance is a mess. Our research shows that right now councils are cobbling together their finances by using reserves and increasing charging wherever they can.

“The system we have now is one which no one would design. Central government and local authorities both want to see a sustainable independent funding model. But until we answer fundamental questions about how to make this work, devolution will be a process rather than a revolution.”

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