Cash warn­ing over fund­ing for ser­vices

Sunderland Echo - - News - By Fiona Thomp­son fiona.thomp­ Twit­ter: @fionath­omp­sonjp

City lead­ers have wel­comed calls for fairer Gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

The move has been made by the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (LGA) as part of its Au­tumn Bud­get Sub­mis­sion, which is high­light­ing the pres­sures au­thor­i­ties are un­der.

The LGA is warn­ing that the money lo­cal gov­ern­ment has to pro­vide day-to-day ser­vices is run­ning out fast.

For ev­ery £1 of coun­cil tax col­lected by coun­cils in 2019/20, the LGA fore­casts 56p could be spent on car­ing for the el­derly, vul­ner­a­ble adults and chil­dren.

This is up from 41p in 2010/11.

In Sun­der­land, more than £295mil­lion has been taken out of its bud­gets in the last eight years be­cause of the Gov­ern­ment’s aus­ter­ity pro­gramme. Coun­cil Tax raises only 14p for ev­ery £1 of city spend­ing.

This year’s Coun­cil Tax in­creased by 4.9 % in Sun­der­land with 3% rais­ing an ex­tra £4.2mil­lion to help meet the cost of in­creas­ing de­mand for adult so­cial care.

Coun­cil­lor Mel Sped­ing, the coun­cil’s cab­i­net sec­re­tary, said: “Coun­cils across the coun­try are see­ing in­creas­ing pres­sures on all their ser­vices and how they are de­liv­ered.

“Gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance has not been forth­com­ing and Gov­ern­ment has con­tin­ued to re­duce the core fund­ing that coun­cils re­ceive.”

The chair­man of the LGA, Coun­cil­lor Claire Kober said: “Within two years, more than half of the coun­cil tax every­one pays could have to be spent on adult so­cial care and chil­dren’s ser­vices.

“Coun­cils will be ask­ing peo­ple to pay sim­i­lar lev­els of coun­cil tax while, at the same time, warn­ing com­mu­ni­ties that the qual­ity and quan­tity of ser­vices they en­joy could drop.”

Sun­der­land has al­ready agreed the ma­jor­ity of its cuts for 2018/19.

Fur­ther sav­ings will have to be found in the next two years. The Gov­ern­ment will an­nounce its fund­ing for lo­cal gov­ern­ment for next year in De­cem­ber.

A pro­vi­sional Sun­der­land Coun­cil Tax fig­ure for the next fi­nan­cial year is due to be an­nounced in Fe­bru­ary 2018, with the coun­cil set­ting and fi­nal­is­ing its next bud­get in March.

City ser­vices have been hit by Gov­ern­ment fund­ing cuts.

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