Funding cuts could end non-statutory services, county councils warn

Reductions in funding for county councils could ‘all but end’ the provision of non-statutory services in some parts of England, according to the County Councils Network (CCN).

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, set out four-year funding deals for local authorities in a new local government funding settlement and CCN claims that changes to how local government funding is distributed could see county council’s funding fall by over 30 per cent.

It also claims that this large drop in funding for county councils is due to the redistribution of of funds to inner London and metropolitan authorities.

County councils are reportedly set to face increased cuts of £184 million during 2016/17, while metropolitan boroughs are set to receive a funding increase of £95 million during 2016/17, with inner London receiving £53 million, according to CCN figures.

The CCN has called on the government to postpone cutbacks and undertake a full needs-based review of funding, arguing a failure to do so could embed unfairness in the funding system and put services such as economic development work and leisure services at risk.

Paul Carter, CCN chairman, said: “Our evidence shows that counties see the biggest reduction in funding due to the changes being made in the distribution of local grants. We are committed to making further efficiency savings to help the government's deficit reduction plan, but these changes go too far and disproportionately impact our areas.

“We have made our concerns clear to government and have put forward practical solutions. I know government is in listening mode. This proposed settlement will potentially have severe consequences to the delivery of local services and to our NHS partners unless government listens to our concerns and those of our MPs.”