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ADCS response: State of local government finance 2024

John Pearce, ADCS President, said:

“This report is yet more evidence of the crisis in local government funding which councils cannot solve alone. Many councils are in serious financial difficulty, over half of respondents to the survey are likely to declare effective bankruptcy in the next five years, we need to see sensible action from the Treasury to avoid this. Emergency one off uplifts to council funding and the trend of distributing funding via competitions are no substitute for sustainable long-term funding for all. We need certainty not sticking plasters.

“Since 2010, funding for local government has fallen by almost half yet more children and families need our help and support with increasingly complex needs. An estimated £4 billion blackhole will emerge in council finances over the next two years. Councils have worked hard to manage demand and protect the most vulnerable, but they have been left with no other option but to counterintuitively cut the very services that enable us to intervene early before crisis hits and reduce future need and harm. This is not in children’s best interests and is storing up huge financial and human costs for the long run.

“The report suggests sensible ways to reform local government funding, including multi year funding settlements and ending competitive bids for funding which we support. ADCS has long called for a sustainable, multi year funding settlement for all councils, and for children. With the political will government can put councils on a sustainable financial footing that improves children’s lives.”


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